40-Gallon Bearded Dragon Tank

Setting up a 40-gallon tank for a bearded dragon can provide a comfortable and stimulating environment for your pet. While it may be a bit smaller than the recommended minimum (which is typically around 50-75 gallons for adult bearded dragons), a 40-gallon tank can still work well for juvenile bearded dragons or temporarily for an adult. Here are the key considerations and steps for setting up and maintaining a 40-gallon bearded dragon tank:


Key Considerations:

  1. Temperature and Heating:
    • Basking Spot: Maintain a basking spot temperature of 95-110°F (35-43°C).
    • Cool Side: Ensure the cool side of the tank is around 75-85°F (24-29°C).
    • Nighttime: Nighttime temperatures can drop to 65-75°F (18-24°C).
    • Heat Source: Use a basking lamp to create a hot spot and a ceramic heat emitter or under-tank heater if additional warmth is needed.
  2. UVB Lighting:
    • UVB Bulb: Provide a UVB light source (such as a 10.0 UVB bulb) that covers about two-thirds of the tank.
    • Distance: Ensure the bulb is placed within 10-12 inches of the basking area for optimal UVB exposure.
    • Replacement: Replace UVB bulbs every 6-12 months as their effectiveness diminishes over time.
  3. Substrate:
    • Safe Options: Use substrates like reptile carpet, paper towels, or tile. Avoid loose substrates like sand, which can cause impaction if ingested.
    • Cleaning: Regularly spot clean and fully replace or sanitize the substrate as needed.
  4. Enrichment and Decor:
    • Hides: Provide hiding spots on both the warm and cool sides of the tank.
    • Climbing Structures: Include branches, rocks, or hammocks for climbing and basking.
    • Water Dish: Provide a shallow water dish for drinking and occasional soaking.
  5. Tank Placement:
    • Location: Place the tank in a location away from direct sunlight, drafts, and high traffic areas to reduce stress.
    • Secure Lid: Ensure the tank has a secure lid to prevent escapes and protect your bearded dragon from other pets or hazards.

Setup Steps:

  1. Heating and Lighting:
    • Install a basking lamp and a UVB light on one side of the tank.
    • Use thermometers to monitor the temperatures in both the basking and cool areas.
    • Use a timer to maintain a consistent day/night cycle (12-14 hours of light per day).
  2. Substrate:
    • Line the tank with reptile carpet, paper towels, or tiles.
    • Ensure the substrate is clean and free of loose particles that could be ingested.
  3. Decor:
    • Add hiding spots, climbing structures, and a shallow water dish.
    • Arrange the decor to create a temperature gradient with the basking area on one side and the cool area on the other.
  4. Feeding and Hydration:
    • Provide a balanced diet consisting of insects (such as crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches) and fresh vegetables.
    • Dust insects with calcium and vitamin supplements as recommended.
    • Offer fresh water daily.
  5. Regular Maintenance:
    • Spot clean the tank daily to remove waste.
    • Fully clean and sanitize the tank and decor periodically to maintain a healthy environment.


A 40-gallon tank can be a suitable home for a juvenile bearded dragon or a temporary setup for an adult. Proper heating, UVB lighting, substrate, and enrichment are crucial for their health and well-being. Regular maintenance and monitoring will help ensure your bearded dragon thrives in its environment.