A 20-gallon reptile tank is an excellent choice for keeping small reptiles such as leopard geckos. In this post, we try to point out what are the main characteristics that a 20-gallon terrarium should have. Beyond its durability and affordability, a good terrarium should have many other features that most beginners might overlook.
In this article, we will talk about the best 20-gallon reptile tank on the market today and the reasons behind their success.
If you have done your homework, you will know that there are several manufacturers of terrariums. But without a doubt, one of the most prestigious brands in the world of herpetology is Exo-Terra, belonging to the European giant Hagen.
Why buy a 20-gallon reptile tank from Exo Terra?
1- Suitable for small and medium reptiles.
One of the main advantages of the Exo Terra 20 gallon terrarium is its large surface area. A 20-gallon reptile tank gives the leopard gecko or any other small dwelling reptile, enough space to thrive. The enclosure should cover the space requirement, allowing it to recreate its natural habitat.
Before making any choices, consider the size of the adult reptile.
2- Rectangular shape for ground-dwelling reptiles.
Now the volume of the terrarium gives an overall idea of the space it needs, but it should be noted that leopard geckos and desert snake spend most of their life at ground level. That is the reason we are interested in the terrarium large and short. An excellent example of this is the 20 gallon Exo Terra Outback Terrarium, whose dimensions are 24 x 18 x 12 inches which provide a great habitat for the leopard gecko. In the case of small animals from the rainforest which most have arboreal habits, would require more height and a smaller base area, this terrarium should be able to contain the necessary ornamental elements to provide protection besides and look naturalistic.
3- Exo Terra Terrariums Quality.
To evaluate the quality of an Exo Terra terrarium, several factors need to be measured. The first on the list would be the quality of the materials. A second factor would be the usability of the design. Thirdly we evaluate its appearance and finally durability and safety.
The group of materials used in the construction of terrariums ranges from plastic, wood, to aluminum and high-quality glass. Each of them comes with pros and cons. In the case of very cheap plastic terrariums, this is to the detriment of their strength and safety. These low-cost terrariums are good for quarantine or short term periods. Another disadvantage is the impossibility of placing under the tank heaters for obvious reasons.
Most of the well-known brand name commercial terrariums such as Exoterra or its closest competitors, Zoo Med and Carolina custom boxes use steel, aluminum, high-density plastic, and a glass of the highest quality to make their terrariums.
There are some details to take into account such as access either by the top front doors. The base shape and its tightness, and finally the locking system, which prevents unwanted inside or escapes of our pet.
You must find a balance between quality and price. Although it should be noted that in the 20-gallon terrarium range, the price difference between a prime terrarium and an average terrarium is only a few tens of dollars. If we consider our wish that the reptile tank will last many years and make our pet happy, we should consider quality over the economy. But in the end that is something only you can decide.
20 Gallon Leopard Gecko Tank
In my modest opinion, the Best 20-gallon reptile tank is the Exo Terra Outback Terrarium. A great 20-gallon terrarium for leopard geckos, small snakes, and amphibians manufactured by Exo Terra.
- Front window ventilation
- Limited edition hand-painted Outback 3D Rock Background included
- Dual doors for an escape free access
- Stainless steel mesh cover
- Closable inlets for wires and/or tubing
This limited version is indeed a little more expensive, but you can choose to buy the Exo Terra 24 x 18 x 12 terrarium in the regular version or the 18 x 18 version that is much cheaper. If you are still not satisfied, you can evaluate the 20-gallon terrariums of the Zoo Med or Repti Zoo brands.
Exo terra 24″ x 18″ x 12″ as a 20-gallon Snake Tank.
You may have wondered if you could keep a snake inside a 20-gallon terrarium. Well, you can, as long as you meet two conditions.
- Condition number one: Choose a small-sized snake. What kind of snake you plan to have. Ideal ones are the Corn Snake, the California King Snake, and the Hognose Snake. But even they can reach and surpass 50 inches in length as adults.
- Condition number 2: What is the degree of expertise in maintaining snakes: if you are an experienced breeder, you will certainly have no problem raising and maintaining your snake. But if you are a beginner, we advise you to opt for a larger terrarium. The one with 40 gallons of Exo Terra would be perfect.
If you are well with the above conditions then you will have no problems. You can keep a small snake or a young snake in a 20-gallon terrarium. Just make sure your pet has been raised in captivity and ask your reptile supplier how big they are on average as adults.
Many snakes end up being released into the wild after they reach a size their breeders did not expect.
Exo Terra 20-gallon Reptile Tank Pros & Cons.
Size and shape:
- It meets the needs of small and medium reptiles, such as leopard geckos and baby bearded dragons.
- The Low height makes it especially suitable for non-climbing reptiles that enjoy burrowing into the substrate.
- Entirely made of tempered glass and steel.
- The ventilation system maintains a stable temperature and humidity avoiding fogging.
- Its raised base is waterproof, so you can set an under tank heat pad easily or build a complex tropical ecosystem.
- This 20-gallon reptile tank has a rectangular shape, measuring 24 x 18 x 12 inches.
- Front window ventilation.
- Limited edition hand-painted Outback 3D Rock Background included
Reptile Tank Durability:
- Exo Terra terrariums are characterized by their solids, stability, and durability.
- They are made of premium materials of the highest quality, especially the glass that surrounds the entire terrarium, providing excellent visibility.
- The frame and upper mesh are made of metal that is resistant to fatigue and corrosion.
- Minimal maintenance is needed.
- The ventilation system maintains an optimum airflow inside the terrarium.
- All terrarium keeps stable the humidity and temperature throughout the terrarium, vitals factors in reptile health.
- Dual-opening doors for an escape free access. It facilitates the feeding, cleaning ançd maintenance process inside the terrarium
- Another important aspect that provides security when feeding our reptile, is the double door systems, which reduces the exposure area limiting the chances of our pet or insect escape.
- All accesses have a locking system, from the doors, the top mesh, and even the holes for cable entry, this prevents access to the inside of the terrarium predators.
- The only weak point of this terrarium is its price. It is somewhat higher than that of the competition. Although it should be noted that, if the Exo Terra 20-gallon Outback Terrarium is the best among the 20-gallon reptile tanks, it is logical that its price should be higher. As always, quality has its price and many will agree that it has a reasonable price in a terrarium that, unless you hit it with a hammer or an earthquake occurs, it will last a lifetime.
A 20-gallon reptile tank is more than a habitat for your leopard gecko. Correctly decorated, it offers all the comfort and security that your pet needs. Besides integrating easily with the decoration, adding a natural touch to your space, which will be the admiration of your friends and the delight of your children.
Warning: do not host 2 male adult leopard geckos at the same terrarium, they will fight, sometimes to the death.
Leopard Gecko 20 Gallon Reptile Tank Set-Up.
You need minimum elements necessary to accommodate a leopard gecko. Unfortunately, there is no 20-gallon leopard gecko tank kit on the market today. But don’t worry, to build a natural habitat and house a couple of leopard gecko in a 20-gallon reptile tank is easy enough, if you know what you need.
Let’s go over the basic needs of your leopard gecko for a moment.
Heat Source: an 8 Watts Under Tank Heater.
The leopard gecko needs to live in a habitat with a temperature range ranging from 78.8°F in the cold zone (where we put water and food) to 94°F in the hot zone. The recommended method for heating a leopard gecko is under tank heaters. These are just resistances inside a pad that sticks under the tank thanks to the adhesive tape that comes incorporated.
While endothermic and other heterothermic animals are scientifically described as hibernating, the way ectothermic creatures for instance lizards turn dormant in the cold is very various, and so a name is assigned for it. The term Brumation emerged in the 1920s. It differs from hibernation in the metabolic processes involved.
Reptiles frequently commence misting in late fall (the more specific times depend on the species). They often wake up to drink water and go back to “sleep”. They may go months without eating. Reptiles may eat more than daily before the haze time, but eat less or refuse food when the temperature drops [unreliable source?] However, they need to drink water. The period is from one to eight months, depending on the air temperature and the size, age, and health of the reptile. During the first year of life, many small reptiles do not completely mist, but slow down and eat less often. Fogging is triggered by a lack of heat and decreased light hours in the winter, similar to hibernation.
That is why you need a heat source to minimize the Brumation period.
The recommended method for heating a leopard gecko is under tank heaters. These are just resistances inside a pad that sticks under the tank thanks to the adhesive tape that comes incorporated. This should be placed at one end of the reptile tank and occupy 1/3 of the terrarium. I personally recommend the iPower 6 “x 8” Under Tank Heat pad & Digital Thermostat, It is very good quality, energy-efficient, and comes with the thermostat included controlling the temperature automatically.
The substrate, Hides, Food, and Water Supply.
The next step is to place the substrate. This should be easy to clean, non-abrasive, and above all that can not be consumed by the reptile.
Geckos are small animals that originally lived in desert areas. They use to shelter in cracks and rocks during the day. These reptiles become stressed and stop feeding if they do not have places hide. For these hides, you can use any hollow ornament with an entrance and enough space, from a small trunk to a plastic container. Now, if you want to make your 20-gallon terrarium as natural as possible, I recommend you buy 2 reptile hides on Amazon, these are excellent replicas and are very cheap.
In the case of water and food, you can put a water dispenser in the form of a rock and an anti escape bowl where to put your calcium and vitamins. They are very good at preventing worms from disintegrating all over the terrarium.
Other aspects to keep in mind.
Another factor to consider is access. daily, we will have to access the interior of our terrarium, either to feed our reptile, clean their waste, perform some maintenance, or simply add or change elements. For it, the most common form would be to remove the cover in the superior part. But in the case of terrariums Exo Terra and many other high-end terrariums, access through the front doors is a plus. So if you’re going to buy this terrarium, it’s a bonus.
Even if we don’t plan to set up an ecosystem that requires water reservoirs, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure our terrarium is waterproof. Accidents happen and the water bowl can spill. Below the 20-gallon reptile tank is the under tank heat mat and we don’t want the water to get to it at all.
The bottom should be raised, just enough to allow air to pass between the floor and the tank heater. This avoids overheating and possible burns to your reptile. Another characteristic is the presence of holes. They allow the connection of cables inside. Also, they are closable to prevent the escape of your pet and insects that serve as food.
The other features are to everyone’s liking. I particularly prefer glass terrariums over plastic or plexiglass terrariums, even if they are more expensive.