Bearded dragons are popular pet lizards because they are easy to handle, hardy, quiet, and don’t take up too much space. But to get started you'll need to consider the enclosures, lighting, food, and accessories that will best provide for their physical and mental well-being.
After in-depth research and consultation with Dr. Beth Bystrom, a veterinarian in South Carolina with extensive experience in treating pet reptiles, we think the best place to start is with an Aqueon Standard Glass Aquarium Tank, which maximizes visibility with extra-clear glass that's simple to clean. It's a better option than the small, plastic enclosures most commonly marketed toward new lizard owners.
Once you have your enclosure, check out our other recommendations. Here are the best bearded dragon supplies, according to veterinary experts.
Aqueon Standard Glass Aquarium Tank 75 Gallon
Large enough to house an adult bearded dragon
Easy to clean
Silicone sealed edges
Heavy and breakable if dropped
Screen top is sold separately
While this tank is designed for holding fish and other aquatic life, it is also ideal for an adult bearded dragon. This 75-gallon glass aquarium is sturdy, well-sealed with silicone, easy to clean, and will provide ample space for your bearded dragon. A screen top will need to be purchased separately in order to keep your bearded dragon safe, and tank dividers can be utilized if you’d prefer to temporarily have a smaller enclosure for younger bearded dragons.
“Obviously the bigger the better for maximum exercise and enrichment,” Dr. Bystrom told The Spruce Pets. But while you should provide as much space for your new bearded dragon as possible, don't forget that a larger enclosure can lead to different expenses and challenges, such as maintaining an optimal temperature.
While we recommend the 75-gallon option, which leaves plenty of room for your bearded dragon and a variety of accessories, smaller Aqueon tanks can also make for great starter habitats for your first dragon.
Zoo Med Repti Hammock for Reptiles
Easy to clean
Unable to be ingested
Made in the USA
Suction cups may not stick
Hammocks can tear with extensive use
Zoo Med has a strong reputation for making quality reptile products. Dr. Bystrom states it simply when she says, “I trust them.” This nylon mesh hammock has suction cups to easily attach to your bearded dragon’s tank but is still able to be removed for cleaning. The material has no risk of accidental ingestion, and if you have more than one bearded dragon, a giant size is even available. Bearded dragon owners say their lizards love sleeping on and even under this hammock both during the day and at night.
Best UVB Light
Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5 HO Reptile Terrarium Lamp
Provides 10 percent UVB rays
Long-lasting light bulbs
Light fixture is sold separately
Does not fit every type of light fixture
Bearded dragons require UVB lighting, which means a bulb that emits an electromagnetic spectrum between 280-320 nanometers (nm), is necessary. UVB light is invisible but very important, so you need to make sure the light bulb says it produces UVB rays and that you replace the bulb every 6-12 months, even if the white light still works. Dr. Bystrom says Zoo Med is her preferred brand because of its reputation for producing high quality products. Depending on the type of light fixture you have, you may need a different size or type of bulb to ensure it fits, but you don’t want to skimp on UVB or your bearded dragon can develop serious health problems.
Best Harness and Leash
Barbs Custom Crafts Reptile Leash
Doesn’t get stuck on a bearded dragon’s spines
No handle on the harness to pick up your bearded dragon
Bearded dragons are great pets to handle, so you may find yourself wanting a harness and leash. Dr. Bystrom recommends avoiding harnesses that are not designed for bearded dragons, but thankfully there are plenty of options for reptiles. Since bearded dragons have spines that can cause some harnesses to get stuck or tear, this handmade harness and leash on Etsy is perfect with its simple cords. It is easily adjustable as your bearded dragon grows, can be rinsed off, and there are a variety of colors to choose from.
Zilla Terrarium Liner
Treated with enzymes to decrease odor
No risk of ingestion
Variety of carpet size options
Not a natural substrate
Long claws may get stuck in carpet
Dr. Bystrom urges not to use sand or moss as substrates as these substances can cause obstructions in your bearded dragon, especially juveniles, if they are accidentally ingested. She instead recommends reptile carpeting, paper towels, or newspaper for your bearded dragon’s enclosure. Zilla’s Terrarium Liner can be rinsed with water when it gets dirty, is absorbent, and provides an easy to grip surface for your bearded dragon to walk on. However, depending on the size of your bearded dragon’s enclosure, you may need to use multiple pieces of this carpet or cut it down to size, but a variety of carpet sizes are available.
Fluker's 5 Star Medley Treat for Bearded Dragons
No refrigeration necessary
Bearded dragons love it
Only one size jar available
Some picky lizards may only eat the kinds of insects they want and not everything
Your adult bearded dragon should primarily be eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, but occasionally offering them a treat is fun for both you and your lizard. Fluker’s 5 Star Medley Treat contains freeze-dried crickets, mealworms, and grasshoppers that can be sprinkled on top of your beardie’s greens and fruit or offered by hand. These insects don’t have to be refrigerated, which makes storage easy and most lizards will come running for these treats. Be sure to limit how many your bearded dragon gets each day though since adult bearded dragons need more than just insects to thrive.
Repashy Superfoods Calcium Plus Reptile Supplement
Contains vitamin D3
More costly than other brands
Only available in one size bottle
“Calcium powder is a must!” says Dr. Bystrom. Bearded dragons need supplemental calcium to prevent health issues like metabolic bone disease, so Repashy’s Superfoods Calcium Plus provides exactly what they need. This powder also contains vitamins and other minerals as well as dried kelp, dried brewer’s yeast, rose hips, calendula flower, marigold flower, and more, so there’s no need to purchase a second supplement. Reptile owners brag about how well their pets thrive when they use this and many enjoy the fruit flavor, too.
It’s such a popular product that counterfeit items have been found being sold online, but the real deal is well worth it. Dr. Bystrom recommends offering the powder “daily as the bearded dragon grows, then two to three times a week when it is an adult (around eight to 12 months of age).”
Best Water Dish
Zoo Med Repti Rock Corner Reptile Water Dish
Large and extra large size options
Fits into a corner
Needs to be lifted out of the tank to be cleaned
If you’ve been searching for a large water dish for your adult bearded dragon, then Zoo Med’s Repti Rock Corner Reptile Water Dish is exactly what you’ve been looking for. This extra large dish fits neatly into your terrarium’s corner, so it doesn’t take up more space than necessary but allows your bearded dragon to take a nice bath, too. Dr. Bystrom recommends a water dish that is “large enough for the bearded dragon to be able to soak its body in” so that it can stay hydrated, get help with shedding, and defecate comfortably.
Best Food Dish
Zoo Med Combo Reptile Rock Food and Water Dish
Variety of sizes are available
Lightweight so they may be easily pushed around the enclosure
In addition to placing fresh food in a dish, Dr. Bystrom recommends scattering some food around your bearded dragon’s enclosure to encourage foraging. This will provide some enrichment to your bearded dragon but placing some of the food on a dish can help keep the enclosure clean and any live insects contained. Zoo Med’s Repti Rock dishes can be easily cleaned, provide a natural look to the enclosure, and have low enough edges for a bearded dragon to enjoy its meal without having to climb over the edge of a tall bowl. They also come in a pack of two dishes so you always have one to wash and one to serve food on.
Best Habitat Decor
Thrive Desert Reptile Corner Hide
May be too large for smaller enclosures
Only one color option
This affordable, dual-purpose hide sits neatly in the corner of your bearded dragon’s habitat so it doesn’t take up more space than necessary. Despite this space-saving design, it is still large enough for your beardie to snuggle up inside as well as perch on top. It is also non-porous, which makes cleaning and disinfecting a breeze, and it is sturdy enough to support a full-grown bearded dragon. Other hides are often too small for an adult bearded dragon to comfortably fit in, so even if your dragon is still young, this hide will give it somewhere to sleep throughout its life.
What to Look for in Bearded Dragon Supplies
Before you bring your bearded dragon home, ensure their habitat has everything it needs. You can add accessories, terrarium plants, and decor as time allows but start with the basics. Make sure you have an appropriately-sized enclosure for the size of bearded dragon you want, a screen top, heat and UVB lights, a water dish, substrate, and a hide.
“Read as many informational books as possible before going to shop and before getting a beardie," Dr. Bystrom advises future bearded dragon owners. "Get the basics first then you can make an appointment with your vet to get more information.” If you are having trouble finding the right bearded dragon supplies or want to talk to someone else in-person, Dr. Bystrom recommends visiting a reptile-specific store or a reptile show/expo.
Is a cage or a glass terrarium better for bearded dragons?
For bearded dragons, a glass terrarium with a mesh top is ideal. “This limits escaping and injuries as limbs can get caught in cages easily,” says Dr. Bystrom. The glass also helps contain the heat so that your bearded dragon’s enclosure doesn’t get too cold. Cages may provide better air flow, but if you keep your tank clean, this should not be a concern.
How do you clean a bearded dragon’s enclosure?
First, you should remove your bearded dragon from its enclosure. Next, use a reptile-safe cleaner, a 50/50 vinegar and water solution, or a ten-to-one ratio of water to bleach solution. Be sure to rinse everything thoroughly before returning your bearded dragon to its tank. This deep clean should be done once a month, but a reptile's substrate should be spot cleaned daily, and the dishes should be washed at least a few times a week.
Do bearded dragons need toys?
Bearded dragon toys aren’t the same as toys for dogs and cats, but they still need mental stimulation. Dr. Bystrom says that instead of traditional toys, consider hiding their food in safe containers like egg cartons or scattering the food throughout their enclosure so it encourages foraging behavior. "Feed live protein so they can hunt in their enclosure and don’t feed the same thing every day," she says. "It is also important to get them outside as this provides natural sunlight, enrichment, and exercise—just make sure they are secured with a leash/harness!” Additionally, things in the enclosure to climb on or lounge on will be appreciated by your dragon.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
Adrienne Kruzer is a Registered and Licensed Veterinary Technician in three states and has been writing on pet and vet topics for over a decade. She is also Fear Free Certified, has a special interest in exotic and pocket pets, pet nutrition, and loves researching, learning, and problem solving in order to better help pet owners. Her years of working in various animal hospitals with dogs, cats, wildlife, and exotic pets like bearded dragons, alongside her formal college education and elective continuing education classes, have provided her with a wealth of experience and knowledge to help bearded dragon owners select the right supplies for their pet.
Dr. Beth Bystrom is a veterinarian at Sea Island Animal Hospital in Beaufort, SC. She enjoys treating dogs, cats, and exotic pets, including bearded dragons, and also earned her certificate for small animal abdominal ultrasound and echocardiology to continue her education. She has a passion for all things scaly, feathery, and furry, and loves helping pet owners care for their pets.