How to Use Ceramic Tile as a Substrate for Bearded Dragons

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Bearded dragons are a type of lizard native to the hot climate of Australia. They typically need dry enclosures with hot spots, so the substrate used should be able to handle dry conditions, extreme temperatures and the occasional water dish spill. It should also resist stains and be easy to clean. Ceramic tile is a good choice for substrate in a bearded dragon enclosure because it can help create a great hotspot for the bearded dragon to bask in.

Things You'll Need

  • Heat pad
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Ceramic tile adhesive
  • Plywood base
  • Damp cloth
  • Choose an edge of the enclosure where the heat pad will go, if you are using one. Some bearded dragon owners will choose to have a heat pad and heat lamp, or just a heat lamp. The heat pad should go on the edge, on top of the base, as the flat part will sit under the tile and the cord will still be exposed on the edge.

  • Cut a piece of plywood the size of your enclosure. Check the ceramic tiles to be sure they fit onto this piece of plywood; if necessary, cut the tiles to fit.

  • Lightly apply ceramic tile adhesive to the backside of the tile and adhere it to the plywood base. By using the plywood instead of attaching the tiles directly to the enclosure itself, you'll be able to remove the entire floor if necessary in the future. This will prevent damage to the enclosure if you decide to remove the tiles later on.

    If you are using the ceramic tiles in a glass aquarium or smaller enclosure, just place them on the floor of the enclosure without adhesive.

  • Wipe any excess tile adhesive from the enclosure and tiles, and allow the new tiles to set for 24 hours before placing in the enclosure.

Tips & Warnings

  • Grouting the tiles is not necessary and is actually discouraged. If the tiles are grouted, it will be impossible to alter, remove or replace the heat pad underneath, and it will be difficult to clean and replace individual tiles.

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References

  • Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
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