Leopard geckos are fascinating reptiles that make great pets due to their docile nature and low maintenance requirements. If you’re considering a leopard gecko as a pet, it’s important to provide them with a suitable enclosure, a nutritious diet, and proper care and handling. In this article, we will discuss the different types of tanks that can be used for leopard geckos, the necessary lighting and heating equipment, and other essential products needed for proper care.
Leopard Gecko Setup.
Type of Tank.
Leopard geckos require a warm and dry environment with plenty of space to move around. The most common type of tank used for leopard geckos is a glass terrarium or vivarium with a screen top. A 20-gallon tank is suitable for one or two geckos, but larger tanks are recommended for more geckos. It’s important to provide hiding spots, such as caves or logs, to help them feel secure and regulate their body temperature. Also, a shallow water dish should be provided for drinking and soaking.
As mentioned earlier, a glass terrarium or vivarium with a screen top is the most common type of tank used for leopard geckos. These tanks are widely available in different sizes, ranging from 20 gallons to over 100 gallons. When choosing a tank size, it’s important to consider the number of geckos you plan to keep and their size. A 20-gallon tank is suitable for one or two geckos, but larger tanks are recommended for larger numbers of geckos.
Heating & Lighting.
Leopard geckos require a heat source to regulate their body temperature and digestion. A heat lamp or under-tank heater can be used to provide a warm spot in the enclosure. The temperature should be around 85-90°F during the day and a cooler area of 70-75°F at night. A digital thermometer or thermostat can be used to monitor the temperature and prevent overheating.
Leopard geckos require UVB lighting to maintain healthy bones and prevent metabolic bone disease. UVB bulbs are available in different strengths, typically ranging from 2% to 10%. A 5% UVB bulb is suitable for leopard geckos, and it should be replaced every 6-12 months. It’s important to note that UVB cannot penetrate glass, so the bulb should be placed inside the tank or outside on top of a mesh screen. A timer can be used to regulate the photoperiod and ensure that the geckos receive the proper amount of light.
The substrate is the material used to cover the bottom of the enclosure. Leopard geckos need a substrate that is easy to clean, provides good foot traction, and doesn’t cause impaction if ingested. Some good substrate options for leopard geckos include reptile carpets, paper towels, or tile. Avoid using sand or gravel as substrate, as these materials can cause impaction and digestive problems.
Adding decorations to the enclosure is essential to create a naturalistic environment for the geckos. Leopard geckos need hiding spots, such as caves or logs, to feel secure and to regulate their body temperature. They also require a basking spot, such as a rock or branch, where they can sit under a heat lamp and warm up their bodies. Other decorations, such as plants and branches, can be used to create a more naturalistic environment and provide enrichment for the geckos.
Leopard geckos are insectivores and require a diet of live insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches. The size of the prey should be appropriate for the size of the gecko, and the insects should be dusted with calcium and vitamin D3 powder before feeding. Leopard geckos should be fed every other day, and the insects should be removed from the enclosure after 15-20 minutes to prevent overfeeding and maintain the cleanliness of the enclosure.
Leopard geckos require a shallow water dish for drinking and soaking. The dish should be cleaned regularly and filled with fresh, clean water.
Leopard Gecko’s Handling.
Leopard geckos are docile and can be handled regularly. However, it’s essential to approach them slowly and gently to avoid startling or injuring them. Avoid grabbing or squeezing the gecko and support its body while handling them. Children should always be supervised when handling leopard geckos to prevent accidents.
The tank should be a glass terrarium or vivarium with a screen top, with hiding spots and a basking spot provided. UVB lighting and a heat source, such as a heat lamp or under-tank heater, are necessary to maintain the proper temperature and prevent health problems. A suitable substrate, such as reptile carpet or paper towels, and decorations, such as caves and logs, are also important to create a naturalistic environment. Live insects, such as crickets and mealworms, should be provided as the primary food source and dusted with calcium and vitamin D3 powder. Lastly, leopard geckos can be handled regularly but should be approached slowly and gently.
Leopard geckos are known for their gentle demeanor and relatively low maintenance compared to other reptiles, which makes them an appealing option for families with children. However, it’s important to keep in mind that children should always be supervised when handling reptiles to ensure their safety and the safety of the animal.
Leopard geckos are also popular because they are relatively easy to breed and can live for up to 20 years in captivity. Breeding leopard geckos can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to have a good understanding of their reproductive behavior and the necessary care for hatchlings.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the specific products you’ll need to create a suitable habitat for your leopard gecko.
Leopard Gecko Setup Products
1 Leopard Gecko starter kit
The Exo Terra Leopard Geckos Starter Kit is one of the best in the industry. All of the elements contained in the kit are of excellent quality and each element is tailored to the needs of the Leopard Geckos. The Starter Kit uses a 10-gallon terrarium, which provides enough space for the development of this small reptile. Another aspect that is worth emphasizing, is that it provides a heating mat of 8 watts of power that provides the temperature needed. Having said that, there are some negative aspects. I find the absence of a thermostat for temperature control and a hygrometer for humidity very inconvenient. Also, I see not so necessary for the LED lamp for day and night lighting.
- Terrarium Dimensions: 18″ x 18″ x 12″.
- Terrarium Volume: 16.83 gallons ( 0.063 m3)
- Exo Terra Day/Night LED Fixture Small.
- Exo Terra Heat Mat 8W.
- Sand Mat Small.
- Terrarium Thermometer.
- Exo Terra Water Dish Medium.
- Exo Terra Reptile Cave Medium.
Pros and Cons
- Pros: The starter kit has most of the elements necessary to raise an adult leopard gecko. The 10-gallon terrarium provides enough space for the reptile to develop healthily.
- Cons: The starter kit is not equipped with a thermostat for temperature control and a hygrometer for humidity monitoring.
iPower 8″x6″, 8 watts: The Best Under tank heat pad for small and medium terrariums
iPower manufactures several models of heating pads for lizards, snakes, and amphibians. They fit all-size reptile tanks. Its versatility allows being used in the breeding of small reptiles, plant germination, or home brewing. It’s 6-foot cord and standard plug allow the heater to be connected to most North American household electrical outlets.
It’s a heating film and new insulation increases heat transfer uniformly through the terrarium. Once the thermostat is on, the iPower heating pad reaches the desired temperature within minutes, making it more energy-efficient. The 3M adhesive paper provides a strong grip, but also excellent thermal conduction over the entire contact area for optimum heat transfer. And last but not less, it is waterproof and durable with a 1-year warranty. One of the best parts about this heating pad is that it comes with a digital thermostat as a package. Consequently, it makes for the perfect heating source combo for your pet
iPower 8″x6″, 8 watts Pros, and Cons
- Optimum heat transfer for reptiles, amphibians, and plant terrariums.
- Package Includes 1 – Heat Mat (6″x8″ Watt: 8W) / 1 – Digital Thermostat.
- The digital thermostat provides temperature control between 40°f – 108°f (5-42°c).
- 3M adhesive Paper of the Heat Mat provides a strong grip
- 120V US voltage and Standard Plug and No adapter needed
- Waterproof and moisture-proof designed
- Suitable for turtles, snakes, lizards, small mammals, spiders, crawlers, etc
- 1-Year Manufacturer warranty.
- Not to be used in terrariums of more than 20 gallons capacity.
Zoo Med PowerSun UV Bulb – 160 Watts.
PowerSun UV is a mercury vapor lamp, one of the few types of lamps that emits UVA, UVB, visible light, and heat. This bulb adapts to any ceramic holder that accepts its voltage and has a warranty of 1 year.
It is available in two powers: 100W and 160W, for medium and large terrariums respectively. They have a UVB penetration of up to 1.80 m and are ideal for very large or deep terrariums. The lamp has nickel-coated wires to prevent corrosion.
While the PowerSun is an excellent heat source, you should add another heating system for the night, when it is off. Be careful to put inadequate protection to prevent your reptile from touching the lamp and suffering a burn.
Zoo Med PowerSun UV Bulb Pros and Cons
- A self-ballasted mercury vapor lamp produces light and emits UVA/B rays and heat.
- Fits into a standard ceramic socket.
- Up to 8 months lifetime.
- Excellent Heat and UV Light source
- 1-year warranty by the manufacturer.
- Price above average.
- You must replace it every 6 months.
In summary, providing suitable habitat for your leopard gecko requires a glass terrarium or vivarium with a screen top, UVB lighting, a heat source, a suitable substrate, decorations, and a proper diet. By ensuring that your leopard gecko has everything they need to thrive, you’ll be able to enjoy its company and observe its fascinating behavior. It’s important to keep in mind that leopard geckos require a significant amount of care and attention, so they may not be the best pet for everyone. However, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to provide the proper care, a leopard gecko can make a great pet for adults and children.