Bearded dragons come from the arid regions of Australia. They need a low humidity environment to thrive and avoid health problems such as respiratory infections, fungal infections, and scale rot.
The ideal humidity level for bearded dragons is between 30% and 40%.
However, sometimes the humidity in your bearded dragon tank can get too high due to various factors such as the type of substrate, the size and location of the water bowl, the amount of ventilation, the ambient humidity, and the frequency of misting.
High humidity can make your bearded dragon uncomfortable and stressed, and can also promote the growth of mold and bacteria in the tank.
Fortunately, there are some easy and effective ways to lower the humidity in your bearded dragon tank and keep it within the optimal range. In this post, we will discuss the main methods to lower the humidity in bearded dragon tanks and some tips to prevent it from getting too high in the first place.
How to Lower Humidity in a Bearded Dragon Tank
1. Increase Ventilation
One of the simplest ways to lower the humidity in your bearded dragon tank is to increase the ventilation.
Ventilation allows the humid air to escape and the dry air to enter the tank, creating a balance of moisture.
You can increase the ventilation by:
- Choosing a tank with sufficient ventilation holes or a screen cover. Avoid using glass or plastic covers that trap the moisture inside the tank.
- Opening the front doors of your tank if it has them. This can help the air circulate better and lower the humidity. Just make sure that your bearded dragon cannot escape or get injured by the doors.
- Placing a fan near the tank to create a gentle breeze. This can also help the air move and dry out the tank. However, do not point the fan directly at your bearded dragon or the basking spot, as this can cause stress or overheating.
2. Move Water Bowl Away from Heat Sources
Another way to lower the humidity in your bearded dragon tank is to move the water bowl away from the heat sources. The heat sources, such as the basking bulb or the heat mat, can cause the water to evaporate faster and increase the humidity in the tank.
You can move the water bowl away from the heat sources by:
- Placing the water bowl on the cool side of the tank, away from the basking spot and the heat mat. This can reduce the evaporation rate and the humidity level.
- Using a smaller water bowl or a shallow dish. This can limit the amount of water available for evaporation and the surface area exposed to the heat.
- Changing the water daily or more often if it gets dirty. This can prevent the water from becoming stagnant and breeding mold and bacteria, which can also increase the humidity.
3. Switch to a Different Substrate
Another way to lower the humidity in your bearded dragon tank is to switch to a different substrate. The substrate is the material that covers the bottom of the tank and provides a surface for your bearded dragon to walk and dig on. Some substrates can retain more moisture than others and increase the humidity in the tank.
You can switch to a different substrate by:
- Choosing a substrate that is dry and absorbent, such as paper towels, newspaper, reptile carpet, or ceramic tiles. These substrates can soak up the excess moisture and keep the tank dry.
- Avoiding substrates that are moist and non-absorbent, such as sand, soil, peat moss, or coconut fiber. These substrates can hold on to the moisture and create a humid environment.
- Cleaning the substrate regularly and replacing it when it gets wet or dirty. This can prevent the substrate from becoming a source of humidity and a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.
4. Stop Misting Until Humidity is Back Under Control
Another way to lower the humidity in your bearded dragon tank is to stop misting until the humidity is back under control. Misting is the act of spraying water on your bearded dragon or the tank to provide hydration and humidity. However, misting can also increase the humidity in the tank too much.
You can stop misting by:
- Providing fresh water in a bowl or a drip system for your bearded dragon to drink from. This can ensure that your bearded dragon stays hydrated without increasing the humidity in the tank.
- Misting only once or twice a week, and only in the morning or evening. This can allow the water to evaporate quickly and not linger in the tank.
- Misting only a small area of the tank or your bearded dragon’s body. This can prevent the water from spreading and creating a humid environment.
5. Try Using a Dehumidifier
Another way to lower the humidity in your bearded dragon tank is to try using a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier is a device that removes the excess moisture from the air and lowers the humidity level.
You can try using a dehumidifier by:
- Purchasing a dehumidifier that is suitable for the size and location of your bearded dragon tank. You can find dehumidifiers online or in local stores that sell appliances or home improvement products.
- Placing the dehumidifier near the tank or in the same room. This can help the dehumidifier to capture the humid air and release the dry air.
- Setting the dehumidifier to the desired humidity level or using a hygrometer to monitor the humidity level. This can help you to adjust the dehumidifier accordingly and maintain the optimal humidity level for your bearded dragon.
How to Increase Humidity in a Bearded Dragon Tank
Humidity levels that are too too low can also cause health issues for bearded dragons. Low humidity can cause dehydration, dry skin, and shedding difficulties.
If the humidity in the tank is too low, there are several ways to increase it. Here are some of the most common and effective methods:
1. Place Water Near the Hot Side of the Tank
The water bowl that you place inside the tank for the bearded dragon’s use can be used to regulate the humidity in the tank. Place the water bowl under the UVB light; this will help form water vapors, which will consequently raise the humidity level inside the tank.
It’s important to know where you can place the water bowl for the best results. The desired amount can be attained by testing different spots and choosing the best to give optimal results.
2. Mist More Frequently
When coming across the situation of lower humidity level, the bearded dragon in the wild moves out to the water areas, where they can bask and can acquire the desired humidity, however, in captivity, this has to be managed by the owner.
Misting the tank more frequently can help resolve this problem efficiently and keep the pet well hydrated. If you see the humidity level getting lower in the tank, try misting the tank more often, and watch how quickly it balances the humidity level. Ensure to use dechlorinated and purified water for this purpose. Furthermore, you may also try using an automatic misting system to avoid this problem.
3. Add Plants to their Habitat
Live plants can increase the humidity in the tank by releasing water vapors. They also provide natural decoration, shade, and hiding spots for the bearded dragon.
However, make sure to choose plants that are safe and suitable for bearded dragons, such as aloe vera, haworthia, jade, or pothos. Avoid plants that are toxic, spiny, or require a lot of water or light.
The Ideal Humidity For Bearded Dragons
The ideal humidity for bearded dragons is between 30% and 40%. This range of humidity is similar to the natural conditions that bearded dragons experience in their native habitat, and it provides them with enough moisture without causing excess dampness.
Keeping the humidity level within this range will help your bearded dragon stay healthy and comfortable. It will also prevent the common health problems associated with high or low humidity, such as dehydration, skin infections, respiratory infections, and digestive issues.
How Can Humidity Hurt Your Bearded Dragon?
Humidity matters for bearded dragons because it affects their hydration, skin health, respiratory system, and digestion.
Bearded dragons are used to living in low humidity environments, where they get most of their water from their food and dew drops.
If the humidity is too high or too low, it can cause various health problems for them, such as:
- Dehydration: If the humidity is too low, bearded dragons may lose water from their body faster than they can replenish it. This can lead to dehydration, which can cause lethargy, sunken eyes, wrinkled skin, and kidney failure.
- Skin infections: If the humidity is too high, bearded dragons may have trouble shedding their skin properly. This can result in retained shed, which can trap bacteria and fungi under the old skin and cause infections, such as scale rot, mouth rot, and fungal dermatitis.
- Respiratory infections: If the humidity is too high, bearded dragons may inhale too much moisture, which can irritate their lungs and make them prone to respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Symptoms of respiratory infections include wheezing, coughing, nasal discharge, and difficulty breathing.
- Digestive issues: If the humidity is too high or too low, bearded dragons may have trouble digesting their food properly. This can result in impaction, constipation, diarrhea, or vomiting. Humidity affects digestion because it influences the activity of the enzymes and bacteria in the gut that help break down food.
How to Monitor Humidity in a Bearded Dragon Tank
To measure the humidity level in your bearded dragon’s enclosure, you will need a hygrometer. A hygrometer is a device that measures the amount of water vapor in the air. You can find digital or analog hygrometers at most pet stores or online.
You should place the hygrometer inside the enclosure, away from the heat and light sources, and check it regularly.
After knowing the importance of heat and humidity, you must have realized how important it is to keep the humidity level intact and balanced. Keep a strict check on the humidity level checker; a hygrometer or psychrometer can be used to do so.
The level of humidity inside the enclosure must be around 30-40 percent. Anywhere above this can cause respiratory and health problems in your bearded dragon. This can be normalized by reducing the misting in the tank, moving the water bowl away from the UVB light using a dehumidifier.
Lower levels of humidity can result in a bad shed and other health issues. If the humidity is below the average level, try misting more frequently, placing the water bowl near the light, and adding bearded dragon plants to the enclosure for adding moisture in the environment.
Ensure that the home is all prepared before you walk in with the bearded dragon; this will reduce the stress level of your beardie and help it adjust in the environment easily.