If you’re looking for a 20-gallon reptile tank to house a leopard gecko or other small reptile, you’re in the right place. In this post, we will discuss the main features that a durable, comfortable and affordable 20-gallon terrarium should have. Almost all 20-gallon enclosures are intended to house small reptiles, but terrarium volume is only one of several aspects to consider. In this article, we will review the specifics of the most popular 20-gallon terrariums on the market today.
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Exo Terra Outback Terrarium 24 x 18 x 12, 20 Gallon
Main 20 gallon reptile tank features
1 Reptile space requirements.
One of the fundamental aspects when choosing our terrarium is the space required by the reptile to develop and thrive. To make a correct selection, we must take into account the size of the adult reptile, the characteristics of its natural habitat and the habits and behavior of the species.
A simple example would be the choice of a leopard gecko terrarium. This small reptile comes from desert areas, having nocturnal habits and their own characteristics. Its small size allows it to be confined in low volume tanks. The minimum required space is 10 gallons for a juvenile or even an adult, reaching up to 20 gallons for a couple of adults.
2 Terrarium dimensions.
Now the volume of the terrarium gives an overall idea of the space it needs, but it should be noted that leopard geckos spend 90% of their life at ground level, so we are interested in the terrarium is not excessively tall, and concentrate in search for a terrarium as long and wide as possible. An excellent example of this is the 20 gallon Exo Terra 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 in addition and look naturalistic.
3 Terrarium quality.
To evaluate the quality of a terrarium, several factors need to be measured. The first on the list would be the quality of the materials used. A second factor would be the usability and practicality 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 generally used 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 Zoo Med, Exoterra 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 for a leopard gecko is the Exo Terra Outback Terrarium. A great 20-gallon reptile tank for a leopard gecko manufactured by Exo Terra. It is true that this limited version is 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 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 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. In addition to being easily integrated 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, some times 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 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.
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.
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.