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Thinking to Get Bearded Dragon

Discussion in 'Bearded Dragons' started by BigBadBaz, Jul 6, 2009.

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  1. BigBadBaz

    BigBadBaz Well-Known Member

    Hi. I've been convinced (on another thread in this forum) to go with a beardy for my first lizard. I have a few questions before I get it though.

    (I have done, and am continuing to do research, but these are questions I want to ask people.)

    First of all, do you agree that a beardy would make a good first lizard?

    Secondly, I have a space of 42"x42"x54" (LxWxH) for the cage. I was thinking to make a cage with the dimensions 42"x42"x42" with maybe a cabinet on the bottom. From what I understand, this should be plenty big enough. Right?

    Also, what do you think of adding a second beardy. Is there enough room, will it be much more difficult to deal with...?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    The beardie won't really use too much height, so I would think 54" tall is overkill. And 42 x 42 x 42 is over 300 gallons which is a TON of room. We usually suggest a 40 gallon breeder for a single adult as a minimum.

    Some people have luck adding multiple dragons, others have aggression issues. The good news, is that if you do get multiples, with a tank that size, you can divide it in half and still have a ton of room. Also if you get a male and female pair, they will breed non-stop, shortening the life of the female.
  3. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Bearded dragons make an excellent first lizard, but they are best housed singly, there`s an excellent care sheet available on this forum, it will tell you all you need to know, the size of the space is great, although you don`t need that much height for one tank, unless you want to build two enclosures, one on top of the other, not too dificult to achieve, also you can then have two dragons if you wish (separately)........ Any other questions, just ask!
  4. BigBadBaz

    BigBadBaz Well-Known Member

    Hmmm. I think I'm going to stick with one beardy for now.

    You say that a 40 gallon breeder is big enough, so I assume a 75 gallon, 48x18x20 would be very nice? Don't beardies like to climb? Is that enough room for them to do so?

    Thanks for the replies!
  5. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Beardies can climb to a certain extent but are mainly terrestrial. They will use a branch or tree stump but it is not advisable to make it too tall.
  6. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    And whatever you have in there to climb on must be as wide, if not wider than the dragon. 40 gallon breeder is the minimum. A 75 would be nice.
  7. BigBadBaz

    BigBadBaz Well-Known Member

    Okay, I guess 75 it is.

    What should I use for the top of the tank?

    Also, I understand I'd be best off with Mega-Rays for UVB. How many of what wattage should I use?

    What would I be best off with for heating the tank, and what should I use for a basking light?

    Thanks again!
  8. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    The Megaray doubles as a basking lamp if you get the self ballasted one. Their website has a guide for wattage vs. enclosure size.

    IMO wood makes the best top, so build one to fit. It keeps the heat in the best. You would almost be better making the whole thing out of wood, since glass is one of the worst insulators in the world. Then you could even make it a little deeper. :)
  9. BigBadBaz

    BigBadBaz Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, but I can't seem to find the guide. Can you please give me a link?

    Also, it seems the light is supposed to be about 12" from the basking spot. The only way I can think to do that is to put the basking spot on or close to the floor. Am I supposed to do that for a beardy? (I know some lizards are supposed to have raised basking spots.)
  10. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    And one word, just in case:

    Avoid Sand. If you can, use cage carpet, astro-turf, or even slate. You can get some nice stone-textured linoleum tiles as well, very cheap, and all you have to do is peel off the backing, and stick them in place.

    With small particles like sand, you run the risk of impaction - the calci-sand and vita-sand is actually WORSE for this, despite the labeling of how "good" it is for your herp (which the pet shop people will also tell you.)
  11. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The basking spot can be on the floor. The reason some lizards have raised ones, other than the arboreal ones, is to bring the surface closer to the lamp in order to really raise the basking spot temp without turning the rest of the enclosure into an oven.
  12. BigBadBaz

    BigBadBaz Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies. I'm looking into building a custom cage, 54"x18"x24" (LxWxH) with sliding glass doors in front. I can make it taller. Do you think I should?

    I still need that link for the wattage vs. enclosure size guide.

    Back to the dragon itself, I understand there are different species of beardies? Does it make a difference which species I get? I've seen some gorgeous red beardies, is that species specific?

    EDIT: I forgot. I knew about the substrate issue. I was originally thinking paper towels, but I like the linoleum idea. I assume it's easy to clean?
  13. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    I have never had a beardie so I can't tell you this for sure, someone else will come correct if it is wrong.

    I think there are 2 species of bearded dragons, but only one is found in the pet trade in the USA. With in that there are a lot of morphs that have slight color differences. But all have the same needs. (albino i believe is more sensitive to UVB)

    Paper towels is fine, and linoleum is good too, it is very easy to clean. For my iguanas cage I have coroplast which is a plastic cardboard, I am not sure how it would stand up to the heat of a beardie's basking point mine is 5 feet from basking point so I can't help you there. It is like $20 for a 4'x8' piece but is very easy to clean and comes in any color mine is white, you can also paint it so you could paint a background and rock floor.

    For your basking point you can build a floor so it has a ramp up to a higher spot to bask on, people use a foam insolation called great stuff and then seal that, you can carve it and make it really really cool you can also cover it with cement and sand to make a realisitic looking floor. if you build a floor it will make a cave under it so it will double as a hide. Since you have the opportunity to make a high cage you can make the best of the space you have.
  14. Orca

    Orca Elite Member

    Bearded dragons do make good first reptiles because of their awesome personalities and not too complicated care. And it sounds like you are doing your homework already! However, keep in mind that baby bearded dragons will eat you out of house and home - we are talking around 30+ little crickets a day. Since they are also sensitive about the size of their prey (don't feed them anything bigger than the space between their eyes), you can't upgrade the size of the crickets to save and not give them so many. If you don't want to deal with that much feeding, you can always opt for a slightly larger, juvenile dragon instead.

    And I do not recommend housing more than one unless you really watch their individual eating habitats and are prepared to separate. Much easier if you just get one or divide the tank from the start.
  15. wildheart

    wildheart Elite Member

    Place rocks inside the enclosure instead of branches, they love running, climbing and jumping on and over big rocks. Use different sizes and it must preferable rough rocks. Place that under the basking light, swap and change the size until you get the correct temps.

    Also add a big fake leafy plant close to the basking light, they love laying underneath it and sort of use it as a hiding place.

    Without lots of 'toys' - rocks in my beardies cages they become very bored and then just lay on one spot all the time.

    A big cage is always better - that allows you to make lots of playing spaces.:D
  16. ShAn3

    ShAn3 Elite Member

    I know depending on the specie of Bearded you can house more than one per enclosure. My mate has a Pagona Minor Minor (western Bearded's) trio which all live fine together in a 4ft long by 2ft wide and 2ft high enclosure.
  17. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    What we have is the Inland bearded dragon (P. vitticeps) and occassionally the Rankins dragon (V. henrylawsoni). What is generally seen are the vitticeps.
    And the color variations are all the same species.

    P. Minor are not available here in the states. The vitticeps are not so accommodating. And if you do manage to keep a male and two females together they will be constantly breeding which is stressful for the females and will shorten their lifespan.
  18. BigBadBaz

    BigBadBaz Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I guess whichever beardy I like.

    So, do you think 24" is tall enough, or should I make it taller?

    On the Mega-Ray site they say to make 2 basking spots, one with UVB and the other without. Should I do this? I'm a little concerned about how this would effect heat gradients. If I do one on either end, do you think the middle would drop low enough?

    I want to make sliding glass doors for the front of the cage. Where do people usually get the glass for this? I am thinking to just get it custom made from my local glass shop.

    Also, what do people use for runners? Can you please give me a link?

    Oh, and rocks I just get from wherever (and clean with 1:10 bleach:water solution)?
  19. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    24 inches is plenty tall enough.
    I personally prefer to have the UVB and heat at the same point. That way they are encouraged to the UVB area. And it will make it easier to supply a heat gradient.
    You will most likely need to get your glass for the doors from a glass shop and make it 1/4 inch thick. Most hardware stores do not stock glass that thick.
    I do not use sliding doors so I will let some of the others comment on that.
  20. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I agree, it`s best to get 1/4 inch plate glass, you can use plastic runners, they have two channels running along, so one piece of glass slides behind the other, very easy to fix, just drill some small holes along the length of the runner, and screw them into place, 1/2 inch screws are fine, make sure you carefully counter-sink the holes, so the screw head doesn`t contact the glass. What type of lighting are you going to use, the best available as far as UVB irradiation are the "Megaray" lamps, they are as close to natural sunlight at the recommended distances, and also provide heat. Alternatively, you can use flourescent tubes, but these will need to be within 12 inches of the animal, the 8-0 are fine, but they don`t emmit heat, so you would need either infra-red or ceramic heat bulbs also.
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