Ultimate 40-Gallon Bearded Dragon Tank Guide (Buying & Setup) (2024)

A 40-gallon tank is a standard option for a bearded dragon from being a juvenile into adulthood – as long as you use caution on the lighting and accessory setup.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of a 40-gallon tank and how to set it up correctly for a bearded dragon to ensure it can live a long, healthy life.


40 Gallon Tank Types & Dimensions

A 40-gallon tank is a popular choice for many bearded dragon owners. When choosing a tank for a bearded dragon, consider the dimensions and type of tank, either open-top or front-opening, that best suits you and your beardies needs. With the right tank, your bearded dragon will have plenty of space to move around, climb, and explore.

Here are three types of 40-gallon tanks to consider:

40-Gallon Breeder Tank

Ultimate 40-Gallon Bearded Dragon Tank Guide (Buying & Setup) (1)

Dimensions:The 40-gallon breeder tank measures 36 inches long x 18 inches wide x 16 inches tall.

The 40-gallon breeder tank is one of the most popular choices for bearded dragon owners.

This tank is wider than the 40-gallon-long tank, providing more floor space for your bearded dragon to move around. This tank is as tall as the 40-gallon-long tank, maintaining the same vertical climbing space for your bearded dragon.

40-Gallon Long Tank

Dimensions:The 40-gallon long tank measures 48 inches long x 13 inches wide x 16 inches tall.

This tank is longer than the 40-gallon breeder tank, which provides more horizontal space for your bearded dragon to move around. However, this tank is skinnier than the 40-gallon breeder tank, so your bearded dragon will have less floor space to move around.

40-Gallon Front Opening Terrarium

Ultimate 40-Gallon Bearded Dragon Tank Guide (Buying & Setup) (2)

Dimensions:This standard 40-gallon front opening terrarium measures 36 inches long x 18 inches wide x 18 inches tall.

The 40-gallon front-opening terrarium is popular for bearded dragon owners who want easy access to their beardie. The front opening also makes cleaning the terrarium easier than an open-top tank.

This tank also provides plenty of floor area and vertical climbing space for your bearded dragon.

Bearded Dragons in a 40-Gallon Enclosure by Age

Baby & Juvenile Bearded Dragons

If you have a baby or juvenile bearded dragon, a 40-gallon enclosure will be perfect. When set up correctly, these young bearded dragons will have enough space in a 40-gallon tank to move around, explore, and bask under the heat lamp.

Adult Bearded Dragons

If you have an adult bearded dragon, then a 40-gallon tank may not be enough. The biggest concern is controlling temperatures for the larger bearded dragons – the basking spot on one side and the cool area on the other.

40-Gallon Bearded Dragon Tank Setup

This section will review the different aspects of setting up a 40-gallon tank for a beardie so you can ensure your bearded dragon has good places to bask, hide, sleep, eat, climb, and run around.

Selecting the Tank

We recommend either the 40-gallon breeder tank or the 40-gallon terrarium. Both provide a wider floor area than the 40-gallon long tank, which gives more room for bigger accessories without having to stack things higher.

When choosing the tank or terrarium, ensure it has a secure lid made of glass, acrylic, or a metal screen top. The top should be able to mount securely – ideally locking to prevent the bearded dragon from escaping.

Proper Lighting

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Bearded dragons require both UVB and heat lamps to stay healthy. Place a UVB lamp of around 10-13 watts on the top of the tank in a central position so the rays shine adequately across the entire tank area. Make sure to replace this UVB light every 6-12 months, as these lights degrade over time.

Place a 100-watt heat lamp on one side of the 40-gallon tank. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the basking area is at 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. Use different accessories to find the right height below the heat lamp to where the basking spot is within this temperature range.

Tank Stand

A sturdy stand is necessary to support the weight of the tank and all the accessories. Make sure it is made of a durable material and can withstand the tank’s weight and any additional weight you may add.

Good Substrate

Several substrate options exist for a bearded dragon tank, but not all are safe. Crushed coconut coir is our go-to bearded dragon substrate. It is effortless to maintain and very close to the type of ground found in wild bearded dragon habitats.

We do not recommend never to use reptile carpets or paper towels. We also avoid calcium sand at all costs, as this sand can cause impactions in bearded dragons.

Finally, ensure to sterilize any substrate before putting it into your bearded dragon’s enclosure for the first time and on a regular basis following our guide on how to sterilize reptile substrate.

Engaging Accessories

Bearded dragons need a few accessories in their tank to keep them happy and healthy. A basking spot, hiding spot, and water dish are essential. You can also add branches, rocks, and other decorations to provide enrichment for your bearded dragon.

40-Gallon Tank Accessory Ideas for Bearded Dragons

Here are a few accessory ideas to help you create a comfortable and stimulating environment for your bearded dragon in a 40-gallon enclosure.

Natural Rocks

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Bearded dragons love to climb and bask, so adding natural rocks to your tank can provide exercise and a place to relax. Please ensure the rocks are big enough for your dragon to climb on but not so heavy that they might fall over. Also, thoroughly sterilize the rocks before adding them to the tank to avoid potential bacteria or parasites.

Resin Rock Structures

If you want to add extra interest to your tank, consider adding resin rock structures. These structures are lightweight, come in different dimensions and configurations, and are easy to clean, making them a great addition to any bearded dragon tank.

A Cave

Bearded dragons love to hide, so adding a cave to your tank can provide a great hiding spot for your pet. A cave also creates the perfect cool-down area during the day when your bearded dragon wants to take a break from the basking location.

You can purchase a pre-made cave or create your own using rocks or other materials. Just ensure the cave opening and interior is big enough for your dragon to fit comfortably inside and secure it so it won’t fall over.

Live Plants

Adding live plants to your tank can provide visual interest and a natural environment for your bearded dragon. Ensuring the plants are non-toxic and won’t harm your pet if ingested is crucial. Some great options include spider plants, pothos, and bromeliads.

40-Gallon Beardie Tank FAQ

Is a 40-gallon tank big enough for a bearded dragon?

Yes, a 40-gallon tank is suitable for a bearded dragon. However, it’s important to note that the tank size should increase as the bearded dragon grows. A 40-gallon tank may be appropriate for a juvenile or small adult bearded dragon. Still, a larger adult may require a larger tank.

How big can a bearded dragon get in a 40-gallon tank?

A juvenile bearded dragon may be able to live in a 40-gallon tank for a short period, but it will eventually outgrow the enclosure as it becomes a larger, more active adult. A 40-gallon tank does not have enough space to provide the proper temperature gradient, UVB exposure, and enrichment necessary for a bearded dragon’s health and well-being in adulthood.

Can multiple bearded dragons live in a 40-gallon tank?

A 40-gallon tank is not recommended for multiple adult bearded dragons, as it may need more space to move around freely and establish their territories. Bearded dragons are territorial creatures and may become aggressive toward one another if they do not have enough space to develop their territories.

Each adult bearded dragon should have at least a 40-gallon tank, but we recommend a larger tank if possible. If you plan on having multiple bearded dragons live together, it is best to go with at least a 75-gallon tank for two and a 100-gallon tank for three bearded dragons. However, be careful with having more than two bearded dragons in a tank, as they will most likely become aggressive toward each other at some point.

What temperature should a 40-gallon tank for a bearded dragon be?

The basking spot should be around 100-110°F, while the lower temperature end of the tank should be around 75-85°F.

At night, the temperature should drop to around 70-75°F with the lights off. An infrared heat lamp at night may be necessary to maintain this temperature without disturbing the bearded dragon’s sleep habits.

It’s essential to provide a temperature gradient, so your bearded dragon can regulate its body temperature, which can be difficult in a 40-gallon tank unless you give a nice cave area for them to rest in.

How many watts for a bearded dragon’s 40-gallon tank?

A bearded dragon’s 40-gallon tank will require a basking lamp with a wattage between 75 and 100 watts to create a warm basking spot for your bearded dragon and a UVB lamp with a wattage between 10-13 watts.

How much sand is for a 40-gallon bearded dragon tank?

It is generally recommended to have a depth of around 2-3 inches, allowing a good depth for the bearded dragon to dig. In a 40-gallon tank, this would require approximately 20-40 pounds of sand.

Ultimate 40-Gallon Bearded Dragon Tank Guide (Buying & Setup) (2024)


What light set up for 40 gallon bearded dragon tank? ›

A 100-watt bulb is appropriate for a 40-gallon tank. Bearded dragon owners must also be conscious of nighttime temps. If the room that the enclosure is housed in does not fall below 65°F, no additional nighttime heat source is needed.

Is a 40 gallon tank big enough for a full grown bearded dragon? ›

Baby bearded dragons will do best in tanks no smaller than 20 gallons and ideally 40 gallons (36 inches long X 18 inches wide X 18 inches deep). Young adults and adults should have at minimum a tank of 55 gallons, but ideally 75 gallons.

How hot should it be in a 40 gallon tank for a bearded dragon? ›

The temperature for the basking area should be between 90 to 93 degrees for an adult bearded dragon. Keep the cooler region of the enclosure at 80 to 90 degrees F, just as with babies and juveniles.

How many watts should a UVB light be for a bearded dragon? ›

Bluex Bulbs 15-Watt Reptile UVB 10.0 T8 Reptile light bulb uva uvb reptile light is ideal for all desert-dwelling reptiles, including bearded dragons, tortoises and other lizards.

What is the correct UV light for bearded dragon? ›

What is the best UV light for my bearded dragon? One of the best lighting products on the market today is the Arcadia T5 lighting range. These high output linear tubes will provide a bright, natural and safe level of ultraviolet and visible light for your bearded Dragon.

Do bearded dragons prefer long or tall tanks? ›

The 36” tank is the equivalent of a 40 gallon breeder and doesn't provide the best solution due to its standard 18” height. The tanks that are 24” or taller are so much better for bearded dragons since they are semi arboreal.

How long can you keep a bearded dragon in a 40 gallon tank? ›

A 40 long aquarium should be good for a beardie until they outgrow it, which can take a few years.

Do bearded dragons grow according to tank size? ›

Bearded dragons do not grow to the size of their tanks. Regardless if the tank is small or large, a bearded dragon should still grow into its adult size, which is approximately 16-24 inches. Keeping an adult bearded dragon in a small tank may contribute to the decrease in size of the bearded dragon.

Is 120 too hot for bearded dragon? ›

A: While beardies can withstand a wide variety of temperatures, here is what I always tell owners. The focal basking hot spot should be between 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. If your beardie is not sitting in the hot spot, gaping with its mouth open, then it probably isn't hot enough.

Should bearded dragons water be warm or cold? ›

Warm water (at a temperature of 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit) Soft-bristled toothbrush. Soft towel. Rock or something for your dragon to climb on.

What does a bearded dragon need daily? ›

Tips on Feeding Your Adult Dragon

Adults only need insects once a day. Veggies should be given more often and left in the cage. Of the food your adult dragon eats, insects should never make up more than 50%. Feed your adult once a day or every other day, depending on their appetite.

What lights do I need for my bearded dragon? ›

Bearded dragons warm up by basking under the sun in the wild. In captivity, they do best with a halogen heat lamp as a heat source. Generally speaking, 100w PAR38 halogen flood bulbs should be plenty to achieve those basking temperatures in a 24” tall enclosure.

How many watts is a 40 gallon tank? ›

Suggested Tank

100 watt heater for 10-25 gallons. 200 watt heater for 25-50 gallons. 300 watt heater for 40-75 gallons.

What night light do bearded dragons need? ›

Turtles, tortoises, bearded dragons, iguanas, and chameleons are some common examples of reptiles that need UVB light. This helps prevent animals from developing hypocalcemia (or lack of calcium). UVB lights should be kept on during the day and turned off at night and should be used along with calcium supplements.

What wattage heat lamp for 40 gallon tank ball python? ›

For a nice basking area you should use a 150 watt heat emitter, it puts out no light that could stress the snake, it should be thermostat controlled..

How much sand do I need for a 40 gallon tank for a bearded dragon? ›

Bearded Dragon Advice

Lets do some math: One 10lb pound bag of vita sand at petco costs $17.99 (lets just call it $18 for simplicities sake), it takes 50lbs or so of sand to create a depth of two inches in a 40 gallon breeder .


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