Pet Lizard Habitats: The Water Terrarium

For lizards that prefer to live in the water, such as water dragons, you must prepare a water (or aquatic) terrarium. Of basic importance is that the terrarium be well constructed, that is, territorial borders established for territorial lizards and all decorations and equipment details so arranged that cleaning the terrarium is possible without difficulty and the lizards can't be either pinched or injured.

Chinese Water Dragon

Land Portion

The land portion should be attached to the terrarium in the form of a shelf so that the animals will have the largest possible water surface at their disposal.

  • For this you need a perforated polyvinyl-chloride (PVC) plate so that the water can drip through it.
  • The plate should take up 35 to 40 percent of the area.
  • The shelf should be mounted 0.8 inches (2 cm) over the surface of the water by means of side supports, which you can glue firmly to the side walls with silicone caulk.
  • Attach a bead 0.8 to 1.2 inches (2 to 3 cm) high on the front edge.
  • The shelf will be covered with coarse gravel which the raised edge will keep from rolling into the water.
  • A heating rod is recommended for maintaining water temperature. It can be mounted in a hollow brick.
  • You should install a motorized filter for mechanical purification of the water. This by no means avoids the necessity for a regular change of water!


You can attach an epiphyte branch to the background or hang plants in appropriate pots for decoration. If the lizards are able to reach the branch, the terrarium must have a covering of wire mesh so that they cannot crawl out and escape.

Note: A side vent is highly recommended.

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