Bearded dragons come from Australia, a hot climate with dry conditions. Choosing a substrate for your dragon is a big decision. It needs to be able to handle extreme temperatures, occasional water spills, and dry conditions. The substrate must be easy to clean, which is why so many bearded dragon owners are now choosing tiles as their substrate of choice. Are you trying to decide whether to tile your bearded dragon enclosure or not? Continue reading to find out more.
Pros of Using Tile in Bearded Dragon Tanks
Tiles are an affordable substrate solution that doesn't need regular replacement. This means you get great value for money in the long run.
Many bearded dragon owners choose tile because it is such low maintenance. Once the tiles are in place, cleaning is quick and easy, saving you valuable time and energy when it comes to providing the ideal habitat for your reptile pet.
Reduced Risk of Impaction
Substrate selection is very important when setting up your bearded dragon enclosure. Bearded dragons, as with most reptiles, tend to scoop up some substrate when catching their prey. Sand, clay, and small pebbles or stones can be ingested accidental, which can result in impaction. Tiles eliminate this risk.
Tiles can be a great substrate in a bearded dragon enclosure. With a selection available, you can create a visually appealing enclosure, while enjoying all the great benefits that tile offers as a substrate.
Tiles come in a variety of sizes, colors, and textures, enabling you to find the right color and texture match to provide your beardie with a cost effective and safe substrate.
Most tiles you buy can cut to size with ease. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are easy to cut, ensuring you get the size you need to cover the bottom of the enclosure with a durable substrate.
Tiles are a durable product that offers a long lasting substrate choice. Unlike other substrates on the market, tile doesn't need to be replaced. It is quick to clean and put back in the tank with ease.
Cons of Using Tile in Bearded Dragon Tanks
Leftover Dirt and Food
One of the biggest problems bearded dragon owners face when using tiles is that food and dirt can get caught between the tiles. This is why you want to do a thorough clean regularly.
You need to take careful note when making your selection as some tiles are porous. Porous tiles can absorb liquids and dirt, resulting in stains and bacteria growth.
Be careful of the temperatures inside the enclosure once adding tiles as a substrate, as they retain the heat, which can increase temperatures inside the habitat.
Bearded Dragon Tile Type
Ceramic tiles are a top tile choice for bearded dragon owners. They come in a wide choice of textures and colors, including sand color, enabling you to blend it into your dragon’s habitat with confidence. These are affordable tiles that won't cost an arm and leg while being very easy to cut, so you are assured to get the right measurement.
Ceramic tiles are easy to clean and reduce the risk of impaction while offering a great decorative look.
Please Note: If you already have your temperatures at optimum, then don't place these tiles under the basking area as they retain the heat.
Slate is natural looking and very attractive and is often found in bearded dragon enclosures. Slate provides an excellent grip, helping to trim down nails. Note that slate also retains heat, so ensure you keep a close eye on your habitat temperatures.
Slate does have it's downsides when compared to ceramic or porcelain tiles, in that it is not easy to cut. Slate is porous, which means it can absorb poop and other impurities in the enclosure.
Porcelain tiles are non porous and very easy to clean. They come in a variety of colors and textures, which can help you create the ideal habitat. Porcelain tiles can be exceptionally slippery, so ensure you choose textured tiles to ensure your dragon has a good grip.
Note that even the textured porcelain tiles can be slippery when wet, which can make the enclosure difficult for your dragon to enjoy.
Bearded Dragon Tile Thickness
Tile thickness is probably a big question. How thick to do you want the tiles, bearing in mind that they retain the heat. Therefore, ¼ inch is a good thickness.
Grout or Not?
Some bearded dragon owners will tell you that you must grout the tiles, while others will leave the tiles ungrouted. Ungrouted is recommended unless there are large gaps between the tiles that can become home to foreign matter. Leaving the tiles ungrouted makes it easier to remove them for thorough cleaning.
Smooth or Textured?
In order to ensure your dragon has a firm grip on the ground, textured tiles are recommended as a substrate for your bearded dragon enclosure. Textured tiles are not as slippery and can assist in helping to keep claws trimmed and manageable.
Adhesive or Non Adhesive?
It is always recommended that you use non adhesive tiles as a substrate in your bearded dragon’s enclosure. Non adhesive tiles can be removed, cleaned, and even changed with ease when you decide you prefer a different color and want to change your dragon’s habitat design.
Bearded Dragon Tile Measurement
Measuring for tiles needs to be done accurately. Start by measuring the inside of the enclosure, which will differ from the outside measurements. The inside will give you a good idea of the number and size of the tiles you need.
For example, a forty gallon breeder tank measuring 36” x 18” will have an internal measurement of 37.5” x 17.5". This means you will need 5 12” x 12” tiles:
- Two will remain whole (12" x 12 ")
- One will need to be cut 12” x 11.5”
- One will need to be cut at 11.5” x 5.5”
- Cut one tile into two pieces. Each piece dimension is 12” x 5.5"
Where to Get Tiles in the Correct Size?
Most home stores, such as Lowe's and Home Depot supply an extensive range of ceramic, slate, and porcelain tiles you can make your selection of. These larger home stores are able to provide you with a cutting service, enabling you to buy tiles in the correct size before you head home to complete your set up.
You can also order online through Amazon and cut the tiles to your chosen size, which offers convenience and cost effectiveness.
Best Tiles for Bearded Dragon Substrate
Trademark Innovations Slate Drink Coasters
These are one hundred percent natural slate measuring 4” x 4”. These are protected against scratches and moisture offering an easy to clean substrate, which you can simply wipe with a damp cloth.
Silverado Gray 6X6 Marble Tumbled Mosaic Tile
This tile is premium quality and has gone through the “tumbling” process to create an antique look with the edges rounded, reducing the risk of injury for your dragon. The tiles are 6” x 6” and made from the finest quality marble.
Ivory (Light) Travertine 4 X 4 Field Tile
These 4” x 4” tiles are 1cm thickness. High quality tiles, affordable price, one box will cover your enclosure bottom, leaving a few spares in case you ever need to replace them.
Glossy Ceramic Tiles Kit
This kit comes complete with a two page product instruction guide. These are blank tiles that can be used as are to cover the bottom of the enclosure. These tiles are 4” x 4” with a ¼ inch thickness.
Bearded Dragon Tile Setup
Adding substrate to your bearded dragon enclosure is quick and easy, once you have your tiles cut to the correct size. Start by laying a layer of paper towel or newspaper down on the base of the enclosure floor and place the tiles on top. The paper will catch any dirt that may get through between the tiles, making it easier when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. The paper will also reduce the risk of the tiles breaking the glass floor of the enclosure.
You do not need to seal between the tiles. Once you seal between tiles it makes them harder to remove for cleaning. The only time you will want to use a sealer is when the gap between the tiles is large that it will become a catchment area for leftover food and poop.
If you can not cut tiles to fit the whole tank, cover a part of the floor with tiles and the remainder with other safe substrates such as paper towels or shelf liners.
Once the tiles are in place, you can continue your setup with confidence, adding hides, basking platforms, thermometers, hygrometers, and any other accessories you want to include.
Cleaning and maintaining
The good news is that cleaning and maintaining a bearded dragon enclosure with tile substrate is quick and easy.
- Spot clean daily, use reptile disinfectant if necessary, in areas where you pick up poop
- Do a thorough clean monthly which includes washing and disinfecting the tiles, putting down new newspapers or paper towels and replacing the dry tiles.
Tiles can be an excellent floor substrate choice for your bearded dragon enclosure. They are easily maintained and cleaned, they are visually appealing and you can buy them at home stores and online at Amazon at cost effective prices.