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blazingecko11
07-23-2013, 08:11 PM
So I was told a numerous of times not to use sand for my geckos because of the risk of impaction and possible dehydration. But I was also told that sand was okay if husbandry was done properly and well maintained. The reason why I'm posting this is because I think sand would look very natural and stunning in a leopard gecko's vivarium, if the gecko was only being a pet and not for breeding. My male leopard gecko who is 5 months old and 7.5 inches long is very healthy and has an extreme appetite for mealworms, crickets, and superworms. He's always been on paper towel. Is there any possible way to have him on sand without the risk of impaction? Ive had quite the experience with these animals just havent really done much with substrate changes. So if there is any way its possible please let me know, if not than I will continue to keep him on paper towel. Thanks for the feed back:D

Conched
07-23-2013, 08:17 PM
One thing you have to remember about sand it that you have to replace all of it on at least on a monthly basis. Since you are currently using paper towels I think you will understand this concept.

Mardy
07-23-2013, 08:18 PM
Unfortunately it's not possible to have a gecko on sand without the risk of impaction. When you use sand, impaction is always on your mind. When your gecko stops eating, you worry about it being impacted. When your gecko not acting well, you worry about the gecko being impacted. When your gecko stops going to the bathroom, you worry about the gecko being impacted.

While there have been plenty of people that have kept their leopard geckos on sand successfully, there have been just as many if not more that have had their gecko impacted. You as the owner have the responsibility to make that choice for your beloved pet. I won't tell you what you can't use. But personally I wouldn't risk it.

Leopard geckos are actually arid creatures, contrary to popular belief they do not live in sand in the wild. They live in burrows and rock crevices. So if you want natural, buy some slate/ceramic tiles to go in your terrarium. You can create some really nice looking tanks using tiles as tiles come in different colors and designs. Just make sure don't buy glossed tiles as they're too smooth for your gecko to gain traction.

blazingecko11
07-23-2013, 08:29 PM
Alright man I totally understand your response. I actually went through a phase of being worried about impaction with another gecko on sand a while back. It was constantly on my mind.. it drove me crazy. But honestly I think im going to keep the big guy on paper towels because I really dont want to risk him getting sick or impacted.

acpart
07-24-2013, 12:01 AM
Yes, it's true that there's no way to completely eliminate the danger of impaction but here are 2 other possibilities that will also look good:
--ceramic tile, especially if you get the slightly textured beige tiles
--bioactive substrate (I use coco fiber with a small amount of desert sand mixed in and some leaf litter in the one enclosure that's set up this way --the others have ceramic tile). I also have dermastid beetles and their larvae in there and they clean up the poop so I don't have to clean the cage. There are also some superworm beetles (and hopefully some baby superworms) in there. The beetles look really cool trundling around and don't bother the geckos.

Aliza

Elizabeth Freer
07-24-2013, 01:44 AM
So I was told a numerous of times not to use sand for my geckos because of the risk of impaction and possible dehydration. But I was also told that sand was okay if husbandry was done properly and well maintained. The reason why I'm posting this is because I think sand would look very natural and stunning in a leopard gecko's vivarium, if the gecko was only being a pet and not for breeding. My male leopard gecko who is 5 months old and 7.5 inches long is very healthy and has an extreme appetite for mealworms, crickets, and superworms. He's always been on paper towel. Is there any possible way to have him on sand without the risk of impaction? Ive had quite the experience with these animals just havent really done much with substrate changes. So if there is any way its possible please let me know, if not than I will continue to keep him on paper towel. Thanks for the feed back:D

Hey blazingecko11,

You've done a great job with this leo :yahoo:. Why risk it? ANY particulate substrate carries risk of impaction, especially if you are feeding free-range.

Consider textured tiles as a substrate. They transfer heat well from an UTH, look good, are permanent, and can easily be cleaned. The only benefit missing is digging.

How about sharing a picture of him?


Alright man I totally understand your response. I actually went through a phase of being worried about impaction with another gecko on sand a while back. It was constantly on my mind.. it drove me crazy. But honestly I think im going to keep the big guy on paper towels because I really dont want to risk him getting sick or impacted.

:cheer: :banana: :cheer:

Conched
07-24-2013, 06:42 AM
It is hard for me to get past the unsanitary conditions of using sand, much less the chances of impaction. Combine the two and you have a real nasty situation. Allow me to elaborate.

When a leo poops there is a small amount of liquid that comes out. While you may be successful at removing all of the larger pieces of excrement the some of the watery part still remains and simply drys up with the sand. Multiply this over a few months and you end up with what is basically sand with allot of dried urine in it.

Now you know that the leo is ingesting some of this sand during feeding time. The leo is now ingesting sand with urine. I don't know about you but, I would not want to be sitting around risking possible sand impaction with urine soaked sand.

In my observation sand is basically double jeopardy.

Regrettably, I suspect most people don't change out the sand with enough frequency. Likely because it is a real pain in the butt to empty out an enclosure with what could be several pounds of sand(depending on size of enclosure).

Risk of impaction with sand = bad

Risk of impaction with urine stained sand = worse

I have used sand as a substrate in the past housing Euro's and was never happy with it.

Just my 2 cents.

Mardy
07-24-2013, 11:15 AM
^ It's kind of like making a cat live on cat litter.. even if you scoop them out regularly, it's still not very sanitary.

blazingecko11
07-24-2013, 11:55 AM
241312413224133

know his morph? I had him when he was a baby in February, this is him 4 months later

Mardy
07-24-2013, 12:01 PM
Looks high yellow, with a hint of emerine.

Elizabeth Freer
07-24-2013, 12:02 PM
241312413224133

know his morph? I had him when he was a baby in February, this is him 4 months later

Wow, he's a beautiful yellow! I'm sure someone here knows morphs.

blazingecko11
07-24-2013, 12:03 PM
almost 9 inches long at 4 months. literally I bought him at 3 inches long, practically hatchling size. hes a big boy

Elizabeth Freer
07-24-2013, 12:18 PM
almost 9 inches long at 4 months. literally I bought him at 3 inches long, practically hatchling size. hes a big boy

He must be a giant morph.

May I ask about the size of his tank?

XoVictoryXo
07-24-2013, 03:45 PM
go with ceramic tile! they are easy to clean and beautiful!!

Muffins94
07-24-2013, 04:04 PM
I have to agree with using something different than sand. When I got my gecko I used reptile carpet until my gecko was about 8 months old, then I decided to try sand. While I changed it out fully every month, I still found that it wasn't that easy to keep clean. Yes you could scoop the bigger portions out, it still had some that leaked through into bottom layers. Also I feared for impaction so I switched back to reptile carpet. Now I am using tile and I absolutely LOVE IT!! It looks so nice and heats up very well. My geckos even seem to like it, they are out more than before and love laying their belly on the warm tile. I give it and A+ for safety and an A+ for looks.

blazingecko11
07-24-2013, 06:01 PM
20 long Elizabeth. I mean I feed him almost ever day so he could of grown faster than normal. Im not really sure.

Conched
07-24-2013, 06:46 PM
Very nice looking Leo !!!

Elizabeth Freer
07-24-2013, 09:15 PM
almost 9 inches long at 4 months. literally I bought him at 3 inches long, practically hatchling size. hes a big boy


20 long Elizabeth. I mean I feed him almost ever day so he could of grown faster than normal. Im not really sure.


If this growth rate continues, he's going to be B-I-G :-).

Recently cricket4u has suggested a minimum tank length for an adult leo which exceeds my former recommendation of a 20 gallon LONG (30 x 12.5 x 12.5 inches). She suggests 4 inches of tank length for every inch of leo. So for a 9 inch leo that = 36 inches long. Thing is your leo is already nearly 9 inches total length (?) at only 4 months old. For sure, he's not fully grown.

Any idea whether he has giant genes?

How about feeding him 3x per week now?

blazingecko11
07-24-2013, 10:00 PM
I think I have a 40 gallon long in my garage ill have to fully clean out, I mean could I gently peal off the heat pad i have and put it on the bigger tank? its for tank sizes 30-40 gallons and if its still really sticky im sure it will work and be reusable.

Elizabeth Freer
07-25-2013, 01:20 AM
I think I have a 40 gallon long in my garage ill have to fully clean out, I mean could I gently peal off the heat pad i have and put it on the bigger tank? its for tank sizes 30-40 gallons and if its still really sticky im sure it will work and be reusable.

BTW, what is this leo's name? I surely wish him to achieve his full potential growth. And I appreciate your updates :-).

This 40 gallon tank sitting in your garage might be just the cage. :-) I have 2 issues: what happened to the former occupant of that tank and heating.

Zoo Med strongly suggests not to reuse UTH pads. Check post #43 following the Leo Caresheet below for correspondence to me directly from Zoo Med on that issue.

Consider using Flexwatt Heat Tape (post #44) to heat your 40 gallon tank. Flexwatt heat cables are the industry standard heating method. Never used such, but I'm certain someone on GU could help out.

GeckoManiac91
07-25-2013, 01:37 AM
I too have found that the heat pads don't restick very well, it really sucks because of how expensive they are :(

blazingecko11
07-25-2013, 01:56 PM
So the tank is what I believe a 38 gallon tank. The length is 36 inches long X 12 inches wide X 17 inches tall. 2 out of 3 things are actually good! I know the height for a leopard gecko really isnt important because they aren't arboreal but the wideness is the same as a 20 gallon long, and the length is the same as a 40 breeder. So would this tank be sufficient for this big gecko!? lol

Speckles
07-26-2013, 11:26 AM
He looks like our Speckles, who is also huge. Supposedly she was a month old when we got her in December, which makes her 8 months old and she is 10 inches long. I thought she was done growing at 9, but nope :) We are switching her to a bigger tank, too. Just put in the tile which looks so nice! I got a good deal on a new heat pad on Amazon, it was for a 40-50 gallon tank and only $20.

Elizabeth Freer
07-26-2013, 02:05 PM
So the tank is what I believe a 38 gallon tank. The length is 36 inches long X 12 inches wide X 17 inches tall. 2 out of 3 things are actually good! I know the height for a leopard gecko really isnt important because they aren't arboreal but the wideness is the same as a 20 gallon long, and the length is the same as a 40 breeder. So would this tank be sufficient for this big gecko!? lol

Your 36 x 12 x 17 inch tank sounds alright for now. Can't say how large your leo will ultimately be.


He looks like our Speckles, who is also huge. Supposedly she was a month old when we got her in December, which makes her 8 months old and she is 10 inches long. I thought she was done growing at 9, but nope :) We are switching her to a bigger tank, too. Just put in the tile which looks so nice! I got a good deal on a new heat pad on Amazon, it was for a 40-50 gallon tank and only $20.

WOW! Good to hear how Speckles has grown :-)

HeKai
07-27-2013, 07:55 PM
just back to the sand for a sec... someone recommended septic sand. Silica was okay, masonite was better and septic the best. I think it is finer ground. And yes, there would always be the risk of impaction. Had mine on silica (redundant name since most rocks have silica in them) for a while and he definitely ate it.


I then skipped a bunch of posts and saw the thing about UTH. Yeah, it makes me mad that they don't restick well. One of my newer ones won't stay put and I have only taken it off to wash the tank. Dumb design! Anyone had successful means of holding them to the glass?

Elizabeth Freer
07-27-2013, 10:21 PM
just back to the sand for a sec... someone recommended septic sand. Silica was okay, masonite was better and septic the best. I think it is finer ground. And yes, there would always be the risk of impaction. Had mine on silica (redundant name since most rocks have silica in them) for a while and he definitely ate it.

Even extremely fine quartz sand mixed with cocofiber caused one of my northern velvet geckos to prolapse twice :-(.

I then skipped a bunch of posts and saw the thing about UTH. Yeah, it makes me mad that they don't restick well. One of my newer ones won't stay put and I have only taken it off to wash the tank. Dumb design! Anyone had successful means of holding them to the glass?

Not only do the UTHs not restick well, I wrote Zoo Med in Spring 2013. They tell me not to restick the UTHs with anything. Zoo Med says that the wires in the UTH can be damaged when the UTH is peeled off the tank.

HeKai
07-27-2013, 11:18 PM
lovely. That would explain the very inconsistent heat I get from them. I think it would be helpful if it said that directly on the backing of the sticker.

So I am missing something here. For my smaller tanks, I take them to the bath to wash and rinse them. I would think that wet on heat pads and wires (and sticky backing) would also be a bad idea. How does one normally wash and rinse a tank? Just "wet mop" it with a towel?

acpart
07-28-2013, 12:32 AM
To clean my tanks I spray them inside with water and wipe, spray with hydrogen peroxide and wipe, spray with vinegar and wipe.

Aliza

Elizabeth Freer
07-28-2013, 01:41 AM
lovely. That would explain the very inconsistent heat I get from them. I think it would be helpful if it said that directly on the backing of the sticker.

So I am missing something here. For my smaller tanks, I take them to the bath to wash and rinse them. I would think that wet on heat pads and wires (and sticky backing) would also be a bad idea. How does one normally wash and rinse a tank? Just "wet mop" it with a towel?

For more details on the correspondence I had with Zoo Med about resticking UTHs, scroll to post #43 following the Leo Caresheet linked below.

chickenmama
07-28-2013, 02:01 AM
I'm a brand-new member, but want to share my experience with loose substrate.

Our leopard gecko was on the walnut shell substrate for about a year. He didn't seem to be doing well, so put him onto terrarium grass. After a year or so on the terrarium grass, he became impacted and died.

We necropsied him, and found a big, encrypted pocket of the walnut shell substrate.

We learned the hard way that loose substrate can kill a gecko, even after the loose substrate has been removed.

HeKai
07-28-2013, 02:02 AM
Found it! Actually learning how to use this forum! Yeah!

HeKai
07-28-2013, 02:07 AM
yeah, someone on a Facebook reptile group I belong to posted a link to an autopsy of a juvenile bearded dragon who died from impaction from walnut shells. This is frightening me a bit as I have my snakes on cypress mulch and I know one of them for sure ingests the stuff!

chickenmama
07-28-2013, 02:18 AM
We've waited nine months or so, and we just got two little juveniles to replace our guy who died from impaction.

When my five year old got them home after picking them up from FedEx, she said "Mom, it's so nice having lizards again!".

I'm liking the idea of tiles for these guys. That sounds really lovely and easy to clean, in addition to being cozy for the geckos.

blazingecko11
07-28-2013, 07:06 PM
Ultimately Paper towels is the best substrate. Cheap, easy to clean and replaceable.

HeKai
07-28-2013, 08:44 PM
yes, because all of Afghanistan is covered in paper towels ;)

It may be much less and issue for my leo but my carpet python and kingsnake love their more naturalistic vivs. The king LOVES to tunnel in the cypress (she is a chicken, not a snake, despite appearances) and the carpet loves branches and leave to climb and hide in. I though perhaps a more natural environment might approximate happiness in my leo was all. I think I will try to get some slate and cut and drill and bond it to make some interesting features, but yeah, paper towel is probably the safest (though I did see one get impacted on that too!).

aterbrock2203
07-29-2013, 04:01 AM
I too have found that the heat pads don't restick very well, it really sucks because of how expensive they are :(

That's why I bought an Ultratherm UTH. You attach them with duct tape and they can be taken off and reused. They are also constructed using the same technology as flexwatt heat tape. I got mine (11 x 11 inch) for about 25 bucks shipped. You can get them at beanfarm.com.

Elizabeth Freer
07-29-2013, 04:46 AM
That's why I bought an Ultratherm UTH. You attach them with duct tape and they can be taken off and reused. They are also constructed using the same technology as flexwatt heat tape. I got mine (11 x 11 inch) for about 25 bucks shipped. You can get them at beanfarm.com.

Have you had the opportunity to use your Ultratherm UTH for awhile with duct tape and then reuse it? I have heard that using actual duct tape would leave one sticky mess because of the heat.

aterbrock2203
07-29-2013, 12:10 PM
Have you had the opportunity to use your Ultratherm UTH for awhile with duct tape and then reuse it? I have heard that using actual duct tape would leave one sticky mess because of the heat.

Haven't had the need to pull it off and reuse it yet. But I liked the idea that it could be reused if necessary. It is a nice, thick polyurethane that I should be able to clean if necessary. A little goo-gone should do the trick if I have to go that route. Plus, I liked the idea that it was similar to flexwatt heat tape.

HeKai
07-29-2013, 02:56 PM
yes, I have since heard that heat tape or cables is the way to go. I like these as well AND if I were very very rich, you can get high end heating units.

I think the toughest thing for me is going to be getting the right stuff affordable and being strict with myself. I have been waiting a year for a Brazilian rainbow boa (now THERE is a more sensitive species). I have everything (except thermostats) including food for the little guy. They were born the second week of July... I am thinking with my recent costs and needing to get more things for winter, I should hold off. Money, it should grow on trees.

Not that relevant a post, sorry. But yeah, I am going to check out heat cables today when I pick up more feeders. I guess with the heat tape/cables or ultratherm, you need space underneath the tank?

GeckoManiac91
07-29-2013, 04:41 PM
Not that relevant a post, sorry. But yeah, I am going to check out heat cables today when I pick up more feeders. I guess with the heat tape/cables or ultratherm, you need space underneath the tank?

Yes, with any under tank heater you need ventilation space underneath for air flow.

Elizabeth Freer
07-29-2013, 09:04 PM
That's why I bought an Ultratherm UTH. You attach them with duct tape and they can be taken off and reused. They are also constructed using the same technology as flexwatt heat tape. I got mine (11 x 11 inch) for about 25 bucks shipped. You can get them at beanfarm.com.


Have you had the opportunity to use your Ultratherm UTH for awhile with duct tape and then reuse it? I have heard that using actual duct tape would leave one sticky mess because of the heat.


Haven't had the need to pull it off and reuse it yet. But I liked the idea that it could be reused if necessary. It is a nice, thick polyurethane that I should be able to clean if necessary. A little goo-gone should do the trick if I have to go that route. Plus, I liked the idea that it was similar to flexwatt heat tape.

BTW, just today I visited a hardware store. This particular store sold heat resistant duct tape to 200 F. They also sold aluminum tape and 3M heat resistant aluminum tape.

cwatkins
07-29-2013, 09:23 PM
Elizabeth,
If a uth falls off, but isn't ripped off so there would not be any prying on the wires, do you think it would be re-attachable?
Mine is slowly falling off more and more, and I have been using electrical tape to keep it on for the time being.
Do you think I have to buy an entire new one or would this method continue working?
Thanks :)

Elizabeth Freer
07-29-2013, 09:48 PM
Elizabeth,
If a uth falls off, but isn't ripped off so there would not be any prying on the wires, do you think it would be re-attachable?
Mine is slowly falling off more and more, and I have been using electrical tape to keep it on for the time being.
Do you think I have to buy an entire new one or would this method continue working?
Thanks :)

What brand UTH do you have? I wonder why it is sticking poorly. The Ultratherm posted right above and sold by the Beanfarm seems like it is reattachable.

If it is Zoo Med, please check out the correspondence between me and Zoo Med rep Ashley Rademacher on post #43 immediately following the Leo Caresheet.

You could also consider FlexWatt Heat Tape.

HeKai
07-30-2013, 01:56 AM
hey, BIG WARNING, use the UTH exactly how they are designed and heed the correspondence. I would be hesitant to tape it on.

I did several things wrong-ironic since I just read all this stuff and reposted some of it on another forum. The short version is I just discovered that my ball python's relatively new (7 months old) 33 gallon tank has some nasty cracks in it. Heard it this morning, now I know what it was. I am probably being extra careful but the poor girl is in a too small Rubbermaid bin because I don't think her tank is safe or usable :( I read horror stories on Amazon too.

If you are using a rheostat or thermostat you are probably okay but there is a risk if it isn't like the ultratherms and made to reattach. Maybe contact the company and complain, maybe they will ship you a new one :P