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    Lightbulb First time Leo owner, general help and info with housing.


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    Hello! I recently got a leopard gecko, her name is nugget.

    Now, I did do research before hand of how to care for, but a lot of people give mixed feelings about the care for them (substrate, heating method, food times etc.)
    From the pet store, I did end up buying a starter kit, but I felt having sand wasn't okay, because I know I wouldn't be okay with accidentally eating it. I am going to go out tonight and get proper things to keep my Nugget happy, but wanted some help and insight from those that know best.

    Nugget is around 4-5 months old, the guy at the store told me they feed them mondays, Wednesdays, and fridays (8 crickets per feeding). I dont know the size of the tank, but I know the screen cover is 20'' L and 10'' wide, if that says anything.
    I have a Cal. Herptivite sample, and a Cal. w/ VD3 sample (I need to get more, but is there any other supplements I should have?) She only has one hide, so I need to get 1-2 more, and has a water dish.
    She currently has a heat lamp rather than a UTM, the bulb is 75W and says it's UVA.

    I guess my question(s) is/are: what do you guys recommend is the best for Leo's, should I get more supplements, is reptile sand (the orange/red coloured one) okay for her, should I get a Under tank mat, or is her lamp fine?

    There is one stick on thermometer, do I need more than 1?

    Currently, she's wandering her tank, I guess because she's getting familiar, but I'm really worried that she's not on the warm side of her tank because it's too hot. I do own a turtle, and I know his lamps get too hot for him as well, and know that it is dangerous.

    Thank you in advance, I know this thread is sort of all over the place, but any help is appreciated. Im super excited to own this little baby:')

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    Hello!

    I'm a new gecko owner too. So I'm going to leave some of your questions alone for more experienced people but there are a couple things I feel confident weighing in on.

    Yes you want a heat mat. Geckos in the wild get their heat from basking on rocks that have been warmed by the sun not so much from direct sun exposure. As such they need their little bellies heated to ~90F to help with digestion and just being happy and healthy. I went with a stick on under tank heater which works well but since my cage is too small for a full grown now I'm going to have to buy a new one when I get a new enclosure. Next time I plan on getting one of the mats you can just lay on top of the substrate. You will want to get a thermostat to stick to the floor in your geckos warm hide. This will keep the mat from getting too hot and possibly burning nugget's belly. I used this because it was cheap and recommended on a couple sites https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 to go along with this I bought a IR thermometer to confirm the reading of the thermostat and to get an idea of the temperature gradient it is creating. My current pad has a hot spot which I was able to find because of the IR gun. I set my thermostat right on the hottest spot and then set my hot hide so it has a few degrees of variance inside so my gecko can do a bit of thermoregulation without ever leaving his hide.

    I bought this IR gun: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I was a little worried because it was so cheap but it was also highly recommended and so far is has a less than a degree of variance with my thermostat so I am pretty pleased about that.

    For substrate I went with tile for 80% of the cage and then put in some reptile carpet on the cold side because I heard sometimes they like something a little softer on the cold side. Tile is easy to clean and seems like a pretty common choice these days. If you decide to go with tile you are probably going to learn like I did that anything smaller than 12x12 inch tile is a pain in the butt to get. So you'll need someone to cut it. Lowes cuts tile in store. The Menards and Home Depots in my area did not. Lowes however also had the worst selection of natural stone tile. I eventually found some granite tiles that are working well. I put the glazed side down so the gecko has some texture and isn't sliding around. You want something thinner than ~.3 inches if you are going to use a under tank heater.

    More hides for sure. You want a hot one right on top of the heat mat. A cold one that stays at room temp and a moist hide. The moist hide should be near the hot end but a little cooler than your hot hide. You fill it with sphagnum moss or something equivalent and keep it moist. This helps with shedding and gives them a place to dig if they want.
    Last edited by LilBobbyD; 10-16-2017 at 01:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LilBobbyD View Post
    Hello!

    I'm a new gecko owner too. So I'm going to leave some of your questions alone for more experienced people but there are a couple things I feel confident weighing in on.

    Yes you want a heat mat. Geckos in the wild get their heat from basking on rocks that have been warmed by the sun not so much from direct sun exposure. As such they need their little bellies heated to ~90F to help with digestion and just being happy and healthy. I went with a stick on under tank heater which works well but since my cage is too small for a full grown now I'm going to have to buy a new one when I get a new enclosure. Next time I plan on getting one of the mats you can just lay on top of the substrate. You will want to get a thermostat to stick to the floor in your geckos warm hide. This will keep the mat from getting too hot and possibly burning nugget's belly. I used this because it was cheap and recommended on a couple sites https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 to go along with this I bought a IR thermometer to confirm the reading of the thermostat and to get an idea of the temperature gradient it is creating. My current pad has a hot spot which I was able to find because of the IR gun. I set my thermostat right on the hottest spot and then set my hot hide so it has a few degrees of variance inside so my gecko can do a bit of thermoregulation without ever leaving his hide.

    I bought this IR gun: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I was a little worried because it was so cheap but it was also highly recommended and so far is has a less than a degree of variance with my thermostat so I am pretty pleased about that.

    For substrate I went with tile for 80% of the cage and then put in some reptile carpet on the cold side because I heard sometimes they like something a little softer on the cold side. Tile is easy to clean and seems like a pretty common choice these days. If you decide to go with tile you are probably going to learn like I did that anything smaller than 12x12 inch tile is a pain in the butt to get. So you'll need someone to cut it. Lowes cuts tile in store. The Menards and Home Depots in my area did not. Lowes however also had the worst selection of natural stone tile. I eventually found some slate tiles that are working well. I put the glazed side down so the gecko has some texture and isn't sliding around. You want something thinner than ~.3 inches if you are going to use a under tank heater.

    More hides for sure. You want a hot one right on top of the heat mat. A cold one that stays at room temp and a moist hide. The moist hide should be near the hot end but a little cooler than your hot hide. You fill it with sphagnum moss or something equivalent and keep it moist. This helps with shedding and gives them a place to dig if they want.

    this was very informative, thank you! maybe i should just keep the light and then I'll get the heat map when the other 2 things arrive in the mail, unless I can find them in a store in canada lol. This makes much more sense, I''m going to switch the substrate later tonight. Thank you!

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    You're doing great! Nice job refusing the sand - usually it does nothing but cause problems. You're better off with a solid substrate like tile, linoleum, or contact paper. Personally I don't like reptile carpet because toes and claws can get caught in the fibers, resulting in injury.

    You definitely need an under-tank heater, regulated by a thermostat so it doesn't accidentally burn your gecko. The Jump Start thermostat that LilBobbyD mentioned is definitely one of the best in its price range for just one gecko. The only thing I don't like is that heat mats do a great job of providing belly heat, but don't do much for boosting ambient temps. So I like the idea of supplementing temps with a heat bulb (regulated by a dimmer) or CHE (ceramic heat emitter, also regulated by a dimmer).

    In terms of measuring temps, again I agree with LilBobbyD. Stick-on thermometers like the tape or gauges are inaccurate and more of less useless, so you want a temp gun. They're really accurate, fairly inexpensive, and fun to use! That way you can get perfect readings of your temps on the cool side, warm side, and everything in between.

    As for supplements, Rep-Cal is one of my favorite brands, so Rep-Cal and Herptivite are great. Miner-ALL also has some great products. Just be sure that the calcium supplement you choose has vitamin D3. It will also be helpful to keep a small dish of calcium powder always available for your gecko to lick at will.

    I think that's about it. Congrats on your new leo!

    (By the way, this is one of my favorite websites on reptile care. They have a really good leopard gecko care guide if you have further questions: https://www.reptifiles.com/leopard-gecko-care/)

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    thank you so much!

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    You might be able to find a heat mat in a store near you. The big box pet stores near me had a couple in stock. Not sure what is available in Canada but if you have PetsMart or PetCo or something equivalent they should have some options. I wouldn't hook it up without a thermostat though. I've seen some other threads on here with people saying they went well over 100F when they were not regulated which is not good. Any store with a gardening section should have some, the pet store may have one as well.

    If you get some stone in there the lights might heat it up a bit. I doubt it will be 90F, especially in side a hide under the light but its probably better than nothing. If it feels hot to the touch then it is heating up too much. 90F barely feels warm to the touch. Also make sure they can get out of the light fully when they want to.

    Make sure they are pooping. Since they need the heat for digestion they can get backed up without it. If they are not you might want to delay feeding for a couple days until you get everything in tip-top shape.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LilBobbyD View Post
    You might be able to find a heat mat in a store near you. The big box pet stores near me had a couple in stock. Not sure what is available in Canada but if you have PetsMart or PetCo or something equivalent they should have some options. I wouldn't hook it up without a thermostat though. I've seen some other threads on here with people saying they went well over 100F when they were not regulated which is not good. Any store with a gardening section should have some, the pet store may have one as well.

    If you get some stone in there the lights might heat it up a bit. I doubt it will be 90F, especially in side a hide under the light but its probably better than nothing. If it feels hot to the touch then it is heating up too much. 90F barely feels warm to the touch. Also make sure they can get out of the light fully when they want to.

    Make sure they are pooping. Since they need the heat for digestion they can get backed up without it. If they are not you might want to delay feeding for a couple days until you get everything in tip-top shape.
    I did google and petsmart here has mats and thermostats, and i researched and theyre supposed to be decent thermostats, too.
    Sne is poopig, pooped the first couple hours of being in the tank & eating.
    She seems to be adapting well and shes not taking a peaceful rest instead of anxiously walkig around lol.
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    Welcome to Geckos Unlimited! I prefer Zoo Med's supplements above all others. My second choice would be VetArk's Nutrobal with ProRep's Calci Dust.


    #132---Why I recommend Zoo Med's Repti Calcium w/ D3 & Zoo Med's ReptiVite w/o D3
    These are the supplements I use:
    • Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3
    • Zoo Med's ReptiVite multivitamins without D3 (The Reptile Supply Company carries ReptiVite without D3.)
    • NOW brand or Zoo Med's brand plain precipitated calcium carbonate
    • + Shaved cuttlebone in powder and in chunks for my breeding female Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus

    There are multiple reasons I prefer the supplements I recommend.
    • Some vitamins (A, D, E, & K, for example) are fat soluble. They stick around a longer time and don't need to be taken daily or at every feeding.
    • Vitamin C and the B vitamins are water soluble. They are excreted in urine.
    • Some reptile multivitamins (Rep Cal's Herptivite, Exo Terra's multivitamin, others) only contain pro-formed vitamin A (beta carotene). It's been proven that lizards need a wee bit of pre-formed vitamin A acetate (retinol) in order to metabolize beta carotene.
    • As your gecko grows, she will eat larger and larger crickets. Then, when you dust, she'll naturally be getting more supplements per cricket.
    • Zoo Med's ReptiVite™ is highly recommended by Scott Stahl, DVM, the premiere reptile vet.
    • My vet only recommends a wee pinch of Zoo Med's ReptiVite™ multivitamins at 1 feeding per week.
    • Phosphorus negatively impacts calcium absorption. The more phosphorus a supplement has, the less any calcium is absorbed by the bones.
    • Vitamin D3 needs to be taken with food.
    • Calcium needs vitamin D3 in order to be absorbed. Dusting with plain calcium carbonate without giving vitamin D3 only helps if there is residual D3 inside your gecko.
    • Excess calcium in the digestive tract can hinder absorption of vitamins A and D.
    • Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3 contains 22,907 IU/kg, 10,390 IU/pound. Repti Calcium contains "enough" D3.
    • One schedule isn't good for life. There are actually 3 schedules: 124, 125, & 126.
    • For geckos 12 months old and younger (and breeding females) add one day of pure calcium.
    • It's harmful to have vitamin D3 in both the multivitamin and the calcium powder.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    There are subtle reasons I do what I do.

    • Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3 actually contains significantly more calcium per "dose" than does ReptiVite with or without D3 per "dose".
      • Repti Calcium with D3: 38-43% calcium per dose
      • ReptiVite: 25-28% calcium per dose
    • Your gecko gets weekly vitamin D3 without overdoing other multivitamins.
    • ReptiVite contains phosphorus; Repti Calcium is phosphorus-free.
    • My recommendations depend upon feeding your crickets a good diet.


    Consider using Nutrabol all-in-one multivitamins with a calcium : phosphorus ratio of 46 : 1 along with a pure precipitated calcium carbonate.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Speaking of which, Dr. Scott Stahl, the premiere reptile vet, highly recommends the ZooMed product, ReptiVite™. Dr. Stahl states: "Originally formulated for zoos, it seems to work better than any other product I've tried including the Repashy supplements."

    "My gutload mix includes paprika for Vitamin A. I also include carrot and dandelion greens for their moisture and other vitamins and nutrients. Plant-based is always more assimilable than manufactured supplements."

    /\ Thanks to GU's billewicz (Michael) for sharing Dr. Stahl's feedback!

    Click: Cork Rounds drying out my geckos feetsies?
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 10-18-2017 at 05:44 AM. Reason: typo
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)
    Thanks nuggetthegecko, CWilson13 thanked for this post
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    If you go with Zoo Med's supplements, here's the schedule I suggest.

    Weekly Schedule for Leopard Geckos 12 months old & under

    Crickets or dubia >> Monday - lightly dusted with Zoo Med Repti Calcium with D3
    Mealworms >> Tuesday
    Crickets or dubia >> Wednesday - lightly dusted with precipitated calcium carbonate without D3
    Crickets or dubia >> Thursday
    Crickets or dubia >> Friday - lightly dusted with Zoo Med ReptiVite multivitamins without D3
    Mealworms >> Saturday
    No food or free choice >> Sunday

    Future weeks:
    Continue on since all weeks are identical. . . . . .
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)
    Thanks nuggetthegecko, CWilson13 thanked for this post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Freer View Post
    If you go with Zoo Med's supplements, here's the schedule I suggest.

    Weekly Schedule for Leopard Geckos 12 months old & under

    Crickets or dubia >> Monday - lightly dusted with Zoo Med Repti Calcium with D3
    Mealworms >> Tuesday
    Crickets or dubia >> Wednesday - lightly dusted with precipitated calcium carbonate without D3
    Crickets or dubia >> Thursday
    Crickets or dubia >> Friday - lightly dusted with Zoo Med ReptiVite multivitamins without D3
    Mealworms >> Saturday
    No food or free choice >> Sunday

    Future weeks:
    Continue on since all weeks are identical. . . . . .
    Okay so heres my thing. The Big alís near me, didnt have any ReptiVite, so i got the rep-cal Herptivite, before reading this post, and I want to know is it bad for me to have this one...? If it is I will go and find & buy a different one

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