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Water Dragon Cages

How To Set Up Water Dragon Cages

There is a lot of detail that goes into setting up water dragon cages.  This species is long-lived with a lifespan between 10 and 20 years so setting the cage up right the first time will ensure that your pet have a fulfilled and healthy life.  These lizards are diurnal and semi-aquatic so they have very special cage requirements.  As long as you get your environment set up properly, you will have a non-aggressive, fairly tame pet.


Water dragon cages should be kept at a temperature between 85 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit at night.  It is recommended to keep two thermometers inside of your pet’s cage.  One should be positioned on the warm side and the other should be on the enclosure’s cold side.  If you fail to maintain proper temperature your dragon will end up with a weak immune system which can result in inadequate digestion or respiratory infections.  You will probably have to experiment with different wattage strengths to find the right blend based on the size of your enclosure.  Take care of this trial and error period prior to bringing your pet home.  Many people have a hard time regulating temperature in water dragon cages but you may find it helpful to add some installation.


Of course, unfiltered, natural light from the sun is the preferred choice but if you are like most people, this is difficult to offer your dragon all the time.  If you can give your lizard sunshine from time to time, always make sure that there is a shaded place for him to escape to and never put a tank made of glass in direct sunlight.  This could result in overheating and death.

The best choice of lighting for water dragon cages is fluorescent lighting.  Incandescent bulbs are not adequate because they only offer UVA lighting.  The only way for water dragons to absorb calcium from their diet is by producing vitamin D3 and the only thing that can provide that is UVB rays.  Without proper lighting, your reptile will suffer from calcium deficiency or metabolic bone disease.  Sign to look for when this happens are swollen or trembling limbs, bumps, weak bone structure, rubbery pliable jaw and the inability to move.

When setting up light sources in water dragon cages, the lizard should be able to sunbathe within 10 inches of the light source or the UVB effects will be decreased.  Keep in mind that UVB florescent tubes have to be replaced after six months.  They may still provide light but they do not offer UVB rays anymore.


Do not use a hot rock!  It is not uncommon for lizards to be severely burnt by these.  They can short out, crack, smoke, kill your lizard and burn your house down.  They are very dangerous and most credible reptile stores will no longer even sell them.

What you should use is two basking lamps.  They can be any type of incandescent light.  These get hot so you don’t want your lizard to be able to get close to them.  Many people prefer ceramic heaters, just make sure that you water dragon can never touch the bulb.  Nocturnal bulbs can be used at night and you can offer your pet a human heating pad to lay on but keep in mind that they do not really warm the cage.


The humidity level in water dragon cages should always be around 80 percent which can be tricky to maintain.  You will definitely want to invest in a gauge that measures humidity.  Misting several times throughout the day helps a lot.  Water dragons are native to tropical humid climates so this is a very important element to master in your cage.

Warm dry conditions can dehydrate your pet and when this happens, the water dragon’s kidneys will be affected.  Kidney failure is a leading cause of death among lizards.