View Full Version : Heat rock and set up

09-02-2013, 06:03 AM
Hello all,

my partner recently bought me (saturday) a Vivexotic Leopard Gecko viv Starter Kit and two Jungle leopard geckos who are around 3 months old and 3 inches(ish) in length.

This is what comes in the kit:

Exo Terra Heat Wave Rock
Exo Terra Sun Glo Basking Lamp 25w
Exo Terra Small Glo Light for Basking Lamp
Exo Terra Thermometer
Exo Terra Digital Thermometer
Exo Terra Reptile Cave.

Vivarium dimensions (length x width x height):

57.5cm x 37.5cm x 32.3cm (23" x 15" x 13")

This is to give you an idea of what it looks like minus the plant and the heat rock is situated on the left under the basking lamp. Im not sure it should be here or not?


I dont have a great deal of space left for much else but I am about to go and buy a moist hide and possibly a heat mat although I have been lead to believe this is not needed with the heat rock.

Im also trying to find another hide to place beside the heat rock/below the basking lamp or just completly get rid of the heat rock as I've just read they are unsafe.

As you can tell Im a bit confused as to what to do and very annoyed at being sold a set up that could be a possible hazzard to my babies :(

Probe Temp (located on the floor near to heat rock) 82.2F
Air temp on cool side (I will buy a probe for cool side today) 72F. Ive placed the Exo Terra Thermometer about 4 inches from the floor the reading is not great on this thing.

So far they have not eaten much but have pooped. Im sure this is down to being stressed, just hope I can get the set up sorted today so they can get used to there new home.

Thanks in advance,

DirtyMouse :)

09-02-2013, 01:02 PM
Hello and Welcome to GU :)

I'm sorry to have to tell you this but that enclosure size is not large enough for one or even two leopard geckos. :( You will need a healthy temperature gradient and minimum of 3hides per gecko, this is hard to do in anything smaller than a tank measuring 30x12x12 which is the minimum for one leopard gecko.

Geckos shouldn't be housed together in the first place. Whether they're male and male or female and female. They are solitary creatures and don't need or want company. They wil be much happier in their own 20gallon long setups :)

A heat rock is a no-no, they can over heat and be very hazardous. An UTH covering 1/3 of the tank is the best way to go. The UTH needs to be connected to a thermostat to prevent over heating.

Temperatures should be as follows and should be taken with a good quality digital thermometer.
Warm Side Surface Temp: 88-95
Warm Side Air Temp: 80-85
Cool Side Air Temp: 70-75

Pictures of your enclosure and geckos are very welcome :D

Elizabeth Freer
09-02-2013, 05:48 PM
Hi DirtyMouse ~

Welcome to Geckos Unlimited.

A 30 x 12 x 12 inch (76 x 31 x 31 cm) tank is really only the minimum length tank in which you can establish a proper thermal gradient. That size tank would be OK for a growing gecko. Once the leo reaches 9 inches, a tank 4x the leo's length is best. A 30 inch long tank is insufficient for even an 8 inch leo :-(.

Will you be able to set both these leos up individually? Thing is about having two youngsters together: they will know their respective sexes before you do! Two males together will fight and/or bully.

Hot rocks could overheat and burn these leos :-(. UTH with overhead heat are good ways to go.

Temperatures for all leos regardless of size:
88-93 F (31-34 C) ground temp at warm end inside the warm dry hide
no greater than 85 F (29.5 C) air temp - 4 inches above ground on the warm end
no greater than 75 F (24.5 C) air temp - 4 inches above ground on the cool end

Leave the UTH on 24/7. Can turn off overhead heating at night.

09-03-2013, 07:13 AM
Plenty of space left in the tank for more hides :)
I have a large hide on the heated side currently at 91F in the hide not sure on air temp as I have no extra probe right now.
Moist hide half on the heat and half off.
Medium hide on the cool side air temp that side is currently showing 21-22oC but I do need to get a better thermometer for that.
Few plants at the back for extra hiding spots and there is still room to fit more but it looks fine and they seem very happy now.

Plenty of room here to get a larger tank when needed, Ive spent most of the day contacting the reptile specialists in the area and everyone has said the tank they are in is fine for the size they are at now. Im sure I said this tank is just a start up viv kit. Ive no intention in keeping them in this permenantly.

09-03-2013, 10:51 AM
Plenty of room here to get a larger tank when needed, Ive spent most of the day contacting the reptile specialists in the area and everyone has said the tank they are in is fine for the size they are at now. Im sure I said this tank is just a start up viv kit. Ive no intention in keeping them in this permenantly.

Since you intend to keep this tank for awhile, you will need to either but another tank to separate the geckos or return one. I know it's hard to hear, but you can't keep them together without knowing their sex. And you won't know their sex for many many months. Even when you do know their sex you aren't supposed to keep them together. Two males will fight.. A male will harass a female to breed.. And two females at one point can, and its well known, for them to snap and dislike each other, fighting. Also with two geckos is it harder to monitor who's eaten how much, who's pooped what and there's always one who will be dominant and bully the other for food and hides. With two you need to double the hides, so that's at least 6 hides, and I don't feel you can fit 6 in your tank.
As for heating, an UTH is the way to go. However you need to connect it to a thermostat to control temps.
I don't know if this was mentioned, I apologize if it was, but what substrate are you using?

09-03-2013, 12:36 PM
The enclosure may seem like a good size for now but your geckos are only 3 months old. They have at least 7 months of growing to go yet so you're looking at the geckos tripling in size and length. You definitely should look into getting another terrarium. Also everything Merissa listed above with regards to not knowing your gecko's sex, if you have a male, the male would become sexually mature in a few months. At which time the male(s) would become territorial, and he'll want to mate. If you have two males, they'll start becoming aggressive to each other. If you have a male & female, the male will attempt to mate with the female when she's not ready to breed, causing great stress and possibly injuries.

If you end up with two females, you'll be lucky, but there's no guarantee two females will get along either. Plus your tank size is on the small side. As I pointed out, they've got plenty to grow yet. Ideally if you house two females together, you'll want to double the hides, so 1 warm hide each, 1 moist hide each, and 1 cool hide each. This way they can be separated and be alone when they want to be.

I wouldn't recommend using a basking light for tanks 20 gallons or smaller. Understand that leopard geckos are crepuscular, they're most active at fading light, or at night when it's dark. They're not a dirunal specie that basks under UVA/UVB during the day like iguanas & bearded dragons do. Having a basking light in a terrarium that small can be harmful because the geckos may not be able to hide away from UV properly. Plus it's harder to provide good temperature gradient with a basking light inside a small tank. Leopard geckos require belly heating, it's how they digest their food. They'll need belly heat at night, which your basking light won't be able to provide. This is where under tank heating pad comes in, a much more ideal way to provide belly heating for your leopard geckos. I'm not saying to not use UVA for day/night cycles, but I'd only recommend using UVA if you have a larger than 20 gallon terrarium, with plenty of fake plant shadings, and plenty of hides where your geckos could truly hide away from the light.

Since you have a wooden vivarium, you'll likely have to place the heating pad inside the tank. You may need to sandwich the heating pad in between two slate/ceramic tiles, controlled by a thermostat. This is to be left on 24/7 so your gecko can have belly heating day & night.

Starter kits often look like they're a complete setup for leopard geckos, but unfortunately I have not found one starter kit with necessary and adequate amount of hides, UTH, digital thermometer, thermostat, and such. They're often made with diurnal species in mind, they all come with some sort of basking light, 1 hide, and a stick on thermometer. Something you would use with an iguana or bearded dragon. They can have a picture of leopard geckos on the box, or they could call it "leopard gecko starter kit" like the one you bought, but they are not made for leopard geckos. Just as most of the information you read in retail store pamphlets are not proper husbandry info for leopard geckos either. I mean this kit came with a heat rock...that's so old school.

If you do decide on getting another tank, it'll likely be cheaper if you purchase things separately so you get what you need. You'll save some money, while getting exactly what your leopard geckos need. Hope this helps :)