Best Vivariums and Tanks for Lizards and Snakes

…and turtles, and frogs, and fish, and…

There are aquariums, terrariums, paludariums, penguinariums, vivariums, insectariums, a formicarium (formicaria), and on and on. With so many “ariums,” as someone put it, it may be easy to think, “Which is what, now?” And you may be wondering why there are so many names for glass enclosures. Let us clear it up for you. We’ll cover a few basics and get to the common need-to-know:

A Vivarium is an area or enclosure utilized for keeping animals under seminatural conditions. In Latin it is “place of life.” An aquarium and a terrarium may be considered vivariums (or vivaria).

A vivarium is well suited as a habitat for an animal. When typing “Vivarium” into a search engine, you’ll see many terrariums instead. These seem to be interchangeable.

Animals that do well in a vivarium are numerous. Shallow water needs are great here, particularly for some frogs, salamanders, turtles, and others who do well in a bog-type environment. Bioactive substrate may also be scattered onto the floor of the enclosure, ideal for some animals. A vivarium and a terrarium may be supplied with artificial lighting from incandescent or infrared bulbs for heat and UVA and UVB bulbs that are essential for the health of the exotic animals. Water and filtration systems along with decor such as plants and branches recreate natural living conditions for certain animals.

*Any wiring or screening between the animal and the UVB, UVA full spectrum lighting reduces the emissions received. Possible bulb upgrade (i.e., 5.0 to 10.0 + UVB) or raised basking area with safe descension may be necessary, UVB bulbs’ emissions decline as it is. They need replaced around every 6 months.

A Terrarium is often used for plants, yet they house lizards, frogs, snakes, insects, tiny, shallow-water fish, basically anything along these categories. They may be kept wet and humid or warm and dry depending on the species therein. The goal first and foremost, is the happiness and safety of the animal beyond aesthetic perfection. If natural plants are added to decorate these miniature worlds, be sure they are not toxic to the species housed within. If artificial plants are desired, we don’t want those becoming a snack.

A terrarium is often used for plants but works well for animals.

Enclosures with doors on the side are very convenient. They make decorating, redecorating, cleaning, and maintenance much less difficult. These things may come with keys, so don’t lose those or you may need to learn to pick locks. : ) The side access style makes for easy access to your animals for holding or taking them out for exercise. In addition, creatures are less traumatized by someone reaching for them from the side rather than large hands coming down upon them from above. This scenario may particularly apply to those who have been mistreated, abused, or are not calm due to a lack of attention and handling. Minimalizing some amount of fear in this way, combined with compassion, patience, and more patience, can very well remedy this.

And, if you’re someone who thinks your reptile is the cutest one on Earth – like me, side doors are great to pop open for a quick kiss or petting! Providing a vivarium or terrarium is spacious for the species, it can be used as an enclosure for nearly any reptile as well as many pet insects, such as Tarantulas and Hissing Cockroaches. If you’re housing quick-moving insects or animals, an overhead access will keep them from exiting the side doors when opened. You will find purchasing options below that have both accesses. Keep fairness in mind when choosing enclosures by considering how large your animal(s) is, or will become, and how many hours daily they will be confined.

Cutest one on Earth

We have diligently selected items we believe will make wonderful homes and meet your animal friends’ needs. Simply tap on the images and you’ll be right there with the option to purchase or shop other products:

Description: REPTI ZOO 34 Gallon Large Reptile Glass Terrarium Tank with Foam Backgrounds,Double Hinge Door with Screen Ventilation Reptile Terrarium 24″ x 18″ x 18″(Knock-Down)

“Knock-Down” means this item is to be assembled when it arrives and can be disassembled for transport or storing. How convenient! Keeping the assembly manual in case it is needed in the future may prove helpful. The bottom of this item can hold about 5 lbs. of bioactive substrate (that you can learn how to create your own).

Description: REPTI ZOO Reptile Glass Terrarium, Double Hinge Door with Screen Ventilation Reptile Terrarium 36″ x 18″ x 18″ or 36″ x 18″ x 24″ or 24″x18″x36″(Knock-Down)

This is the 36″x18″x24″ purchasing option. It’s basically a 65-gallon sized enclosure, which may help to put the size into perspective, although it is not designed for use as an aquarium. It currently has 842 global reviews, with a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars (at the time of this posting). This product comes in 3 size options, so be certain the desired selection is highlighted prior to placing it in your cart. If you’re a review reader, a particular review of the 24x18x36 option, as if written by a chameleon named Karma (Karma Chameleon – ugh, anyone else hearing this ’80’s tune in their head now?) is a whole new way of writing a review. Karma’s mom posted photos of Karma inside the new cage. What a cutie! We recommend you check it out.

You’ll need a stand for that!!

Well, you can’t very well have a glass enclosure without something to elevate it. You can build your own, utilize a large and very sturdy table, or check these out below. HERE is a link which specifies the approximate weight of aquariums when filled with water. A must to consider whether your enclosure houses lizards or hundreds of pounds of water with fish!

Description: REPTI ZOO Reptile Terrarium Cabinet, Reptile and Amphibian Terrarium Stand 36″ W x 18″ D x 30″ H

This item obviously is 36″ long, not wide, sometimes this mistake is seen in product specs. If a stand is larger than the size of an enclosure, it’s not a big deal, it can serve ‘double duty,’ a lamp or art piece can rest beside the tank.

In regard to lizards: It is recommended an adult Bearded Dragon be in an enclosure no less than a 75-gallon tank (approx. 284. liters), or dimensions of 48in. x 18in. x 24in., and the bigger the better applies to any animal! Think on that size in conjunction with the average size of an adult Beardie being around 3-4 inches wide, and 20 inches long (give or take a few). And remember their natural environments. Beardies live in arid environments, so do not give them a tropical atmosphere with bubbling water at the bottom of the tank.

Description: REPTI ZOO Full Tempered Glass Reptile Terrarium Knock-Down Reptile Tank 64 Gallon (48″ X 18″ X 18″) or 85 Gallon (48″ X 18″ X 24″)

This item also is an easy-assembly and break-down choice. There are two purchasing options. This is the 42.7″ x 17.7″ x 23.6″, or 85-gallon size, and currently $22 cheaper when you apply the available coupon on the purchasing screen!

You’ll need a stand for that one too!!

Another fabulous enclosure:

Description: REPTI ZOO Reptile Aquarium Terrarium Wooden Stand and Cabinet with Adjustable Shelf for 48L x 18W inch Amphibian/Fish Sea Salt Water Tank Terrarium(Cabinet Only)

And another:

Description: Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium, Bio Deep 48Lx24Wx36H, Easy Assembly

In doing the math, I (correctly or incorrectly) calculate this to be just under the equivalent of a 125=gallon sized enclosure. This item is tempered glass with a deep area below the doors. This is perfect for fish, crabs, turtles and more (animals do need various ways to exit water, even water-loving turtles can possibly drown if the water is deeper than half of their body’s width).

Guess what… you really need a stand!!

Description: REPTI ZOO Storage Cabinet Terrarium Stand 48″ x 24″ x 30″ for Large Wide Reptile Tanks, 7 Shelves for Reptile Accessories Storage Extra Holes for Wire Organization

Visit the REPTI ZOO Store Lots of storage in this one!

Photo by Pixabay on

An Aquarium is… this one’s obvious. These definitely hold water. If you’re shopping for a fish home, be certain it is an aquarium. Not just any glass enclosure will do here.

An aquarium is for water dwellers.

We’re not going to leave out our fishy friends! Here are some items for them:

Description: Tetra Aquatic Turtle Deluxe Kit 20 Gallons, aquarium With Filter And Heating Lamps, 30 IN (NV33230)

At 33.93″ L x !5.81″ W, this will fit atop the Repti Zoo 36x18x24 stand, with a bit of wiggle room.

And because – something that breaks hearts… those terribly cruel, tiny bowls Betta fish are kept in at the pet stores, we have something for them. How so many people are heartless to that is astounding! Bettas should never be in anything less than a 5-gallon tank. So let’s give them 10 and throw in some party lights – their lives just got better (they just can’t celebrate together)!

Description: Glofish 10 Gallon Aquarium Fish Tank Kits, Includes LED Lighting and Décor (Amazon Exclusive)

Description: The Vivarium – Being a Practical Guide to the Construction, Arrangement, and Management of Vivaria: Containing Full Information as to all Reptiles Suitable … Obtain Them, and How to Keep Them in Health Kindle Edition

They make a stand for that!!

Description: Finomenal Aquarium Stand with Solid Wood Frame and no Flimsy Particle Board. Supports up to 20 Gallon Aquarium Stand. Great for Your 10 Gallon Aquarium Stand Needs

Let’s take a moment to discuss what to do about extremely large lizards such as Iguanas and monitors. A Green Iguana will grow to 5-7′ (or up to a little more than 2.1 m). It is suggested one of these gorgeous beasts be in an enclosure no less than 12′ l x 8′ w (or approx. 3.7m x 2.4m). Even that seems cruel for animals longer than the family dog who enjoy walking around the house. For these beings, you could build your own large enclosure. If wood is used, be sure it is not treated with chemicals. It is possible for you or your lizard to get a splinter, so smooth wood is ideal, and some well-placed smoother driftwoods with rough rocks may assist with shedding as well as add more climbing features. Other options for an extremely large enclosure are to visit a specialty shop that can customize a perfect habitat, or you can even give one of these giants their own room! It can be decorated with natural items with basking areas where they will obtain their heating and lighting requirements. They may also enjoy a view. These intelligent animals often like to look out of windows.

And finally, in your considerations, know that some animals and insects such as Chameleons, spiders, and frogs may do well in an enclosure taller than it is wide if they are avid climbers. All lizards do varying degrees of climbing, but some, like the Bearded Dragon, need carefully placed climbing elements because they can fall or even topple over with a branch if it’s not well-secured. When choosing an enclosure, the math can be calculated thusly as to what is best for animals of various sizes and requirements or do some research (please do not take what a pet store employee says as the being correct all of the time). Have an idea how calm or active an animal is, and how large they become. Dragons are some of the least animated lizards much of the time, particularly as they age. They do more observing or thinking and less doing, while many small frogs may remain quite active their entire lives. If you know which animal for whom you’re buying an enclosure, it may be a great time and money saver to get the size appropriate for adulthood knowing they’ll ‘grow into it.’ Likewise, if more than one animal is sharing an enclosure, there needs to remain adequate space for all (watch carefully for competition for food, you may end up with a weak and malnourished animal. Also, when combining animals within an ecosystem, be sure crazy things aren’t done, such as housing a snake with something it should never eat).

Most tanks of all kinds may be interchangeable, with this exception: Although a fish aquarium may be converted to house reptiles, anything other than an aquarium should not be used for fish. Not only might these other enclosures have air vents (tiny openings for air flow), but also to hold all that water/pressure/weight, aquariums may be designed with thicker glass and possibly a different sealant where the glass walls meet. We don’t want messes, injuries, or dying undersea creatures because a proper tank is not used!

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We found the following websites to be very informative and helpful in our research.:

Have you considered having your own magical, mini-Earth, a mostly self-sustained ecosystem to enjoy every day of the year? Vivariums or terrariums offer big beauty possibilities in compact spaces with or without animals. You may want one after seeing what you can do at this website: It offers wonderful ideas for how to structure and decorate your poludarium (or terrarium, vivarium, or whatever), and which plants and animals to have. Not only these, but Henry explains the “why” in much of these choices! To design a tiny world of your own may wind up being quite a conversation piece! These creations really do become “living art!”

This book may be of further helpfulness:

A helpful tip: Many people better understand tank dimensions by describing them as if they held water. For example, if you told someone you were selling a 24″ x 12″ x 20″ tank, well, right off the bat, the potential buyer may not visualize that well. But if you say the enclosure is a 25-gallon sized tank, that may spark instant understanding. And if this person knows they need a minimum 55-gallon tank in size, this makes things easier. and quicker for everyone. Here is a sight that can help translate dimensions into their gallon holding capacity:

Murph approved

“Give me Lizardry or give me Death!” – Dawn Renée ♡



  1. A very intereresting description of the various ariums out there. I was intrigued by the word formicarium (which I discovered after googling it is for ants). I thought a word similar in sound- fornicarium- is where one would keep Bill Clinton.


  2. Thank you. So many ariums! I too only recently learned of a formicarium. I knew some people keep ants and enjoy viewing their networks of tunnels, but never considered the enclosure having a name. Whew, that fornicarium is going to fill up fast! 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent, informative post. I visualize dimensions. The enclosure my boa is in is 80″D x 28″W x 44″H. That would be a 427-gallon tank. Bill Clinton in a fornicarium is brilliant. He would love it. Do you supposed there is a falacicarium for Bill on alternating days?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My grandkids bearded dragon Penelope has quite a big tank and lovely hammocks and caves. Quite attractive. Happy Holidays Dawn 👼🎅🤶🦌🌟🔥🎄🎁


  5. very nice pictures of Murph and the Salamander. today I didn’t read your text. seems to be too exhausting for me. 😉 please apologize. But I trust it is very informative. I wish you a wonderful weekend Dawn. Take care. ♥


  6. Thanks!! Hmmph, that is interesting. I wish I did. I wonder if, in actuality, most men do. Can we have an unofficial study here? I’d love to have others’ inputs because now I’m curious. You have an amazing sized tank for your scaly angel!! That’s awesome! Right, that is proper for Bill, or should I say Willy. That is an awful vision placed in my head! Haha, perhaps there should be a falacicarium for alternate days. This we know, whenever the man relocates, the previous place needs sanitization work!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Penelope has a loving family, it is always good to know when a reptile is appreciated and having a good life. I can’t hear enough of that. Her tank seems it is well decorated. They love hammocks. Likewise, friend. Thank you. 💚


  8. Thank you for the kind comment and your time reading.
    Also, you’re welcome because they’re pretty great!!! 😋
    They cuddle, there’s no fur, fleas, ticks, vaccinations, they’re quiet, beautiful, intelligent… shall I continue [teehee]?
    And we’re really grateful you care about our Murph, having previously never cared for any form of reptilian exposure, it means a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hello my friend. Do you know that we met us here on WordPress already more than nine years? Have a nice holiday and a happy, healthy 2023. All the best for your cute 🦎🦎🥰 lizards


  10. We’ve been doing this since 2017, but I’m confident we’ll hit that 9 years of support, and thank you for yours. We hope you have a wonderful 2023 as well. Will tell Murph you agree that he is cute. : )


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