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The 10 Best Sands For Bearded Dragons

The popularity of keeping bearded dragons as pets continues to grow. Apart from a clean, warm tank and food, this animal only needs a little to live up to ten years. When preparing a habitat for your new bearded dragon, you may have many questions, especially about the type of sand to use. To help you choose from the many options available, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has selected the best sands for bearded dragons to compare. We'll share our thoughts on the matter, along with the benefits and limitations of each, as well as our personal experiences with each. Additionally, there is a brief buyer's guide that explains what characteristics of sand are best for bearded dragons. Continue reading as we examine factors like textures, defenses, counts, and more. so you can make an informed buying decision.

Instructions for Shoppers

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about bearded dragon sand and how to choose it.

May I Use Sand as a Substrate for My Bearded Dragon?

Many experts would advise against using sand as a substrate for bearded dragons since it can lead to a problem called impaction.

What Is Impaction?

When anything solid or semi-solid becomes stuck in the digestive tract, it’s called impaction. Bearded dragons, especially young ones, have been known to ingest sand along with their food, which can cause a blockage.

There are some animals that may lick or even swallow the sand as they dig, so if you see this happening with your pet, you may want to switch to a different substrate.

To avoid the bearded dragon also consuming the sand substrate, most owners feed their pet in a separate area.

Is There Any Reason I Should Go with a Sand Base?

Most owners that utilize a sand substrate do so because it is the closest to the bearded dragon’s native environment. Your pet will want to dig, hide, and play in the sand. Your dragon will most likely spend the most of its time in the sandy region of its terrarium.

Your pet can get the GZcalcium it needs by rubbing its skin against the sand, which is naturally rich in the mineral. In order to forestall a condition known as metabolic bone disease, calcium intake is crucial (MBD).

Your pet’s mobility may be impaired as a result of metabolic bone disease, which causes bone softness. MBD can be fatal if ignored, and even with care, recovery can take time.

We made an effort to highlight products that employ calcium sand (calcium carbonate) as a substrate in our evaluations.

Just how much sand do I require?

Cute Little Bearded Geckos

A 20-gallon tank is necessary for a baby bearded dragon, and a sand substrate should be avoided since dragons at this stage of their development are still learning how to feed without making a huge mess. Sand is best reserved for the adult environment.

Adult Bearded Dragons

An adult bearded dragon normally requires a 40-gallon tank. The general rule of thumb is to use one to two pounds of substrate for every one gallon of tank volume.

Therefore, a 40-gallon tank will need 40 to 80 pounds of sand. This much sand should result in 1-2 inches in the tank, leaving your pet with plenty of area to dig.

When choose a sand substrate, what should I try to avoid?


When considering a sand substrate, dust is likely the main issue. Many brands can be rather dusty, and it can go into the food and the drink.

There’s a chance it may even make its way through the habitat and into your house if it comes into contact with the glass. In our reviews, we sought to call out particularly dusty brands.


Many businesses dye the sand numerous colors to make it more attractive to purchasers, but some of these dyes can be harmful, and many of them can rub off onto your pet, leading it to have discolored skin.

If you detect the color leeching onto your hands, the glass, or onto your pet, you should select a another brand. We tried to flag out any brands that potentially cause discolouration in our reviews.


Many varieties of stone include silicates, as do some varieties of sand, such as brown building sand and pool sand. Silicates can contribute to pulmonary issues in all animals, including humans.

How about an alternate to sand?

Many bearded dragon owners choose to avoid particle substrates like sand and newspaper and go for a solid choice instead. The main drawbacks of solid flooring are that it doesn’t enable your pet to dig and it doesn’t absorb odors as well.

Terrarium Rug

If you want a stable substrate in your terrarium, a terrarium carpet is an excellent option. It employs completely recycled materials and is soft and extremely absorbent.

It is also created in the USA and is simple to clean. In the absence of sand, this is our top pick for terrarium substrate.


Ordinary bathroom tiles may create a fantastic floor for your bearded dragon’s terrarium. This surface is very simple to clean and seems to be liked by our pets.

Rubber Shelf Liner

Rubber shelf liners are widely available and don’t cost much. You can clean it quickly, and you will just need a pair of scissors to fit it in your habitat. It’s long-lasting, lasting for years, and gentle on your pet’s feet.

Surface Comprised Primarily of Clay

You might have heard clay substrate termed excavator clay. This item is great since it allows you to make tunnels for your pet to dig in, is very absorbent, and is safe for them to do so. It’s possible, though, that the 3D aspect will increase the amount you’ll need.


Bearded dragon owners often use newspaper or paper towels as substrate. There are a lot of advantages to these choices, and they’re also quite cheap.

This substrate is cheaper initially, but it will cost you a lot of time since it needs to be changed so regularly.

In what ways should I not use substrates?

  • Walnut Pieces – Walnuts might cause irritation to your pet’s respiratory system. In some cases, it may also include jagged edges that can cause serious injuries.
  • Chips of wood – your bearded dragon may be allergic to certain types of wood.
  • The millet substrate is prone to mold growth and impaction.


The BestForPets (bestforpets.org) top pick for terrarium sand substrate is the best sands for bearded dragons. Natural, rich in calcium, and fortified with vitamins and minerals, Zoo Med Vita-Sand is a great choice for your pet. less likely to be bumped because of the super smooth texture and bulk.

The best bargain option is also a wise choice. Aqua Terra offers aquarium sand in a variety of colors so you can design an attractive setting.

This inexpensive sand is safe and won’t clog your air filter. In fact, our bearded dragons would spend the better part of each day sifting through it.

If your pets don’t seem to be the type to dig, we also recommend looking at our sturdy flooring options, such as terrarium mats, which will provide a safe and easy-to-clean surface. clean.

We’re confident you’ve found these reviews helpful and that you’ve discovered at least a few things here that you’d like to try. Please share this article on the best sand for bearded dragons with your friends and followers on social media if it was helpful in making your next substrate decision.


To sum it all up, the winner is Zoo Med Vita-Sand

We found that Zoo Med Vita-Sand was the greatest all-around sand for our bearded dragons. The substrate is a calcium carbonate mix that has been fortified, making it ideal for an adult bearded dragon.

More calcium can be delivered to the body, which is helpful, and it also contains vitamins and beta carotene, which are good for your pet’s health.

There are no artificial colors that might potentially stain your pet’s paws, and the ultra-fine texture is gentle on the pads of their feet. There should be enough sand for multiple terrariums in each 10-pound package.

The only problem we had with Zoo Med was that if your dragon likes to dig, it might get rather dusty. Our pet’s water dish was constantly dirty because dust had found its way in.


  • 100% organic material
  • Boosts calcium transport
  • Added nutrients such as vitamins and beta carotene
  • An really refined texture
  • There are no added colors.
  • One tenth of a ton


  • Dusty

Best Aquarium Sand for Your Money: Aqua Terra

For the money, Aqua Terra Aquarium Sand is our top pick for bearded dragon sand. It’s 100% natural and safe for your pet, and it comes in a variety of colors so you can make your terrarium look great.

The acrylic finish is safe for your pet and won’t leave any marks on their skin. It comes in a 5-pound bag, so depending on how you have things set up, you may need more than one.

The weak and easily perforated container that Aqua Terra comes in is the product’s worst flaw. You won’t want to throw any of it out, especially given how little there is.


  • Colors abound
  • 5pounds
  • Absolutely nothing added, nothing taken away
  • Non-toxic


  • Fragile packaging

Sand from Carib Sea SCS00711 is the best option for reptile substrate

The best sand we’ve found for bearded dragons is Carib Sea SCS00711 Reptiles Substrate Sand. The desert rose hue of this product is a refreshing departure from the standard beige or beige-and-brown palette.

Because of the round shape of each grain, it is gentler on your pet’s paws and makes for a more comfy bed. We observed that it produces extremely little dust and does not contain any potentially dangerous silicates or phosphates. There are 10 kilos of sand in each bag.

The main problem we had with Carib Sea was that the color would rub off on our hands and onto our bearded dragon when it spent a lot of time sunbathing on the substrate.


  • Calcific Substrate
  • Cereals that form perfectly round kernels
  • It’s a good source of magnesium and strontium.
  • Lacking phosphates and silica
  • One tenth of a ton
  • Shade of desert rose


  • You and your pet are susceptible to color fading.

Natural Reptile Sand from Fluker’s (Item #37005)

Fluker’s 37005 Natural Reptile Sand is a desert-like sand that comes in a natural tint. We discovered that this sand produced very little dust, and it does not include any chemicals or colours that may irritate your pet’s skin. The 10 pounds of sand each bag means fewer bags are needed to fill the tank.

The fact that the Fluker 37005 doesn’t generate a lot of dust was a major plus for us when using it. But the bag is extremely thin and may be easily torn with your fingers.


  • Without the use of any artificial colors or chemicals
  • Exceptional thermal conductivity.
  • One tenth of a ton
  • Low levels of dust


  • Fragile packaging

Sand from the Exo Terra PT3101 Desert

Another option for those seeking a sand with a natural appearance and no additional chemicals or colors is Exo Terra’s PT3101 Desert Sand.

To clean it and lessen the quantity of dust in the bag, it is sifted. A great heat conductor, it will keep your pet toasty all around with no cold or warm areas.

This item is sold in 10-pound bags, however just a little quantity will be required for most ecosystems.

We’ve tried Exo Terra on many occasions, and it’s a decent option if that’s all you can find. This product’s packaging is too thin for our taste, and we’ve dropped more than one bag of it on the floor. Even when additional filtering is done at the plant, it still has a slight dustiness about it.


  • The closest thing to nature’s own style
  • Sorted by size to eliminate garbage
  • Exceptional thermal conductivity.
  • Package of ten pounds


  • Fragile packaging
  • Dusty

Animal and Reptile Science 81110 Reptile Cage Sand

The 81110 Terrarium Sand from Reptile Sciences is made entirely of calcium carbonate, making it safe for gastrointestinal use.

Because of its fine texture, your pet is less likely to suffer from impaction, and the naturally rounded grains are easier on his or her paws.

The strontium, potassium, and magnesium in it are beneficial to your pet’s health as well. Calcite may effectively eliminate unpleasant odors.

Reptile Sciences 81110 is another brand whose subpar packing makes it more likely that sand would fall to the floor rather than inside the habitat.

We also noticed that it was a bit dustier than competing brands, with some of the dust ending up in the water dish and on the food.


  • Calcium carbonate that’s completely absorbable
  • Orbicular grains that are 100% natural
  • Lessens the potential for impaction
  • Strontium, potassium, and magnesium are all present.
  • An all-natural approach to eliminating odors


  • Weak wrapping job
  • Dusty


Author Image

Dr. Barry Buttler

Dr. Barry Buttler, DVM, MS, DACVIM, is an experienced veterinarian who specializes in the care of small animals, specifically dogs. Dr. Barry K. Buttler is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and holds multiple certifications in small animal emergency medicine and geriatric pet health.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Barry Buttler


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