Getting an exotic pet requires much more commitment than getting a regular pet such as a dog or a cat. This is something that all exotic pet owners take in their stride.
One of the most common things that must be considered when committing to a bearded dragon is the tank they will live in. This is something that should be researched prior to getting your bearded dragon to make the transition into your home as smooth as possible.
If you are here reading this article, it is clear that you are determined to create the best environment for your new exotic friend. Read on to find the ideal temperature for your bearded dragon tank and how to set up an inviting environment.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Need A Warm Tank?
Bearded dragons originate from the harsh deserts of Australia. This means that they are perfectly suited to living in warm and dry climates.
There are very few places outside of deserts that can adequately recreate the habitat that these beautiful creatures thrive in.
Because of this, it is important to make sure that you can provide an environment that is climate-controlled to make your bearded dragon happy and comfortable.
The most common way to do this is by providing your pet with a tank that has heat lamps and other items to keep them warm during the day and allow them to cool down at night. These tanks are often referred to as vivariums.
If you don’t keep your dragon’s tank warm enough, your pet may suffer from digestive issues, and high stress levels, it can even cause death.
What Is The Ideal Temperature For A Bearded Dragon’s Tank?
When you are setting up the tank to welcome your bearded dragon, it is important to make sure that the temperature varies a little throughout the tank.
The sun isn’t a constant temperature in the wild and sometimes dragons will move to cooler areas if they need to. Therefore, your tank should provide the opportunity for this.
Basking Spot Temperature
Creating a basking spot in your bearded dragon’s vivarium is super important. This is a spot that should be warmer than other areas in the tank.
A basking spot will provide your dragon with a place to rest and absorb heat and UVB rays from the special lightbulb if they need to.
The basking spot in your vivarium is the only area in the tank where you need to alter the temperature depending on the age of your dragon.
For a baby dragon, the temperature of the basking spot should be around 105 degrees Fahrenheit or 41 degrees Celsius.
If you have an older bearded dragon (Check out What To Do If Your Beardie Isn’t Pooping?) or as your baby dragon becomes an adult, the temperature of the basking spot should be between 88 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius.
The heat for a basking spot should come from a heat lamp and a UVB lamp to make it most effective for your bearded dragon. It is possible to get both heat and UVB rays from a single mercury vapor bulb if you want.
These lights should be turned off at night to allow your dragon and the tank to cool down. A timer switch can help keep the schedule consistent.
The overall temperature is the ambient temperature of the rest of the tank. The temperature range for this is the same regardless of the age of your bearded dragon.
You should aim to keep the ambient temperature of your vivarium around 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 degrees Celsius.
The best way to measure the overall temperature of your tank is via a thermometer that is mounted centrally in the tank. This should preferably be equidistant between the basking spot and the hiding spot.
If you have a small tank of around 40 liters, you could adequately heat the tank with just a basking and UV light.
However, if your tank is bigger, which would be better for your dragon, you may need to acquire another heat lamp to achieve the ideal temperature.
You can also use fluorescent light for heat or a heat mat underneath the tank. Be careful with heat mats and glass tanks as direct heat can cause cracking. You should also maintain a humidity level of between 20% – 40%.
Cool Spot/Hiding Spot Temperature
In the wild, bearded dragons control their own body temperature by seeking out different areas in their environment. While bearded dragons enjoy basking in their warm spot, they also enjoy retreating to a cool spot or a hiding spot.
In the wild, a bearded dragon would dig into the desert sand to seek a break from the relentless Australian sun, failing this, they would seek out a rock to cool off under. They need the same in their vivarium.
Digging is most likely out of the question in a tank, therefore, you should make sure that there are some structures of logs, rocks, or purpose-built shelters for your dragon to retreat to.
A cool or hiding spot should be between 70 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 – 29 degrees Celsius. You should mount a thermometer near the cool spot to monitor the temperature.
At nighttime, the temperature naturally drops in the desert by a significant amount.
You should also recreate this effect in your tank. You can create this effect by simply turning off the lights in the vivarium that generate heat. You should also turn off anything that just provides light to help mimic nighttime.
The temperature of your tank at night should sit around 65 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 – 21 degrees Celsius.
If the temperature of your home doesn’t drop to these temperatures, that is fine. The main thing to ensure is that the tank doesn’t drop below this range as this can cause issues for your dragon.
What Is The Lowest Temperature A Bearded Dragon Can Survive?
While this isn’t a question that we would recommend investigating yourself, it is important to know what the lower temperature limit is for your dragon to help prevent the environment from dropping below that point.
The lowest temperature that a bearded dragon can safely survive is 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 degrees Celsius. It is possible for a bearded dragon to recover from temperatures as low as 16 degrees Celsius, however, you should avoid this at all costs.
If your power goes out, you can maintain the temperature in the tank using hand warmers and portable heaters. Failing that, you can cuddle your bearded dragon and share your body heat with them. It’s a good bonding experience.
How To Increase Temperature In A Tank
If you are worried that your tank isn’t as warm as it could be and tends to hover around the lower end of the temperature range, there are some things you can do to help increase the temperature.
Increase Basking Bulb Wattage
One of the easiest ways to increase the temperature in your tank is to replace your basking bulb with one that has a higher wattage. This will allow it to put out more heat and create a warmer climate for your beloved pet.
Maintain Accurate Temperature Readings
When you are trying to maintain a certain temperature range for your bearded dragon tank, it is important to get accurate temperature readings.
Analog stick thermometers are not a brilliant way to manage the temperature as they are not overly reliable.
To get the most accurate temperature readings, you should use digital thermometers that are mounted at strategic points throughout the tank.
To measure the temperature of the basking spot, mount a digital thermometer that has a probe. The probe should be touching the basking spot to get an accurate reading.
Handheld infrared thermometers can also be used to accurately measure the temperature of the tank.
Make The Room Warmer
If the room that the tank is located in is too cold, it can be difficult for the tank to get to the right temperature or maintain that temperature. To remedy this issue, you should make the room warmer.
If you cannot do this by turning the heating up, you should make sure that you block any drafts and draw the blinds to help keep heat inside.
Improve Basking Ramp
Bearded dragons like to climb onto raised platforms, rocks, or logs to get as much heat as possible.
If you find that your dragon’s basking spot isn’t getting warm enough, you could replace it with something bigger or fashion a higher structure by adding to the current platform.
Cover The Tank
If you are struggling to maintain the temperature of your tank overnight and need a remedy to increase the warmth in the short term while you find a more permanent solution, you can cover your tank.
Using something such as a towel can be a great option. This will help the tank to hold on to the heat from the lights.
Maintaining the correct temperature for your bearded dragon’s tank is one of the most important parts of owning an exotic animal such as this one. Hopefully, this information and tips and tricks will help you out.