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  1. #1
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    Question Newbie with ALL the questions


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    Hi guys,

    So I'm a newbie/not-so-newbie. In highschool I had a friend who went to college and needed to rehome her adult leopard gecko. She came armed with all the goods, and I never questioned any of it. My gecko lived a happy and healthy life until it came time for me to also go to college (couldn't have a gecko in the dorms) and she was rehomed again where she lived another 4 happy years.

    Here I am 8 years later and I wanted another gecko! So here I am, me and my cold blooded little buddy, a week in, and I'm realizing I really am not as confident in my abilities to provide him a habitat as I thought I was.

    I've done a lot of research but there are SO many controversial topics and so I'm here to try and get some clarification. I'll give you some info on what I've got going:


    1. My gecko (he's a little bitty guy right now, couple/few months old) is in a 10 gallon terrarium currently. I plan to expand when he grows. Substrate is the Exo-Terra Sand Mat. The first gecko I had used a sand substrate and never had an issue, and since that's their natural substrate in the wild it only makes sense, but I decided to heed the warnings of sand impaction and went with this mat.

    2. I do have two hides - one warm, one cool and moist (using spaghum moss). I have a heat pad under the warm side of the habitat/hide.

    3. This is where things got confusing for me. Additional heat/lighting, specifically with UVB. This is what I HAVE:

    An incandescent 75W light - it gives off some heat, mostly just using it for photoperiod purposes. However, the habitat still has been too cool - he leaves his hide to explore but seems to quickly return to the heat pad. So I have recently added a ceramic heat emitter, and it's keeping the habitat much warmer (warm side stays about 90, cool side is about 82).

    I didn't get a UVB light because from what I've read, they don't use it very much since they're crepuscular The set up I have now seems to be doing the job, but will UVB increase my gecko's quality of life? Or is incandescent light and the ceramic emitter and heat pad doing enough? So long as I'm maintaining photoperiod and adequate temps?

    I AM using Reptivite with D3 on food (crickets and mealworms, though he hasn't shown any interest in the crickets yet), but I just need some assurance that that's enough! I'm not confident that synthetic supplementation is as good as the real thing - as what they evolved with. Should I switch to a UVB light? And if so, what wattage is recommended for a leo?

    I know this is all kind of a jumbled mess, I just want to make sure I'm doing what's best! Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by desert_rat; 02-20-2019 at 02:52 PM.

  2. #2
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    your cool side should be about 72-74, is yor moist hide on the warm side or cool side? if you could also post a pic of your enclosure it would help A LOT, ( also this is not needed but I would love to see a pic of your leo )

  3. #3
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    Welcome! Since being in a small enclosure without access to the variety of feeders and other stuff in the environment isn't very natural, I'm comfortable using the synthetic supplements. I don't worry too much about the ambient temperature as long as it's comfortable for humans. If it's too cold, the gecko can and will spend more time in the hide. Juveniles tend to spend most of their time there even if it is warmer. The one thing to be aware of with the additional heat is not to dehydrate the gecko by making the air too hot and dry. Enjoy your gecko.

    Aliza

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    Moist hide is on the cool side, to help prevent evaporation. I as of yet don't have a thermostat with a probe, I have a rheostat in the mail right now that I will hook up to the CHE that will double as the warm hide thermostat.

    Below is a picture of my set up. Warm side on the left, cool side on the right.


    5BA85E4F-FF63-4A4E-83A7-9F2733E55105.jpg

    Since I posted this yesterday, I had to go to PetCo for chews for my dogs and I went ahead and picked up a ReptiSun 10.0 UVB light. And actually I've seen him bathing in it twice already, once this morning, which I've heard some are wont to do. He's actually active first thing in the morning after I turn his light on.

    B09E24E5-1CC0-4004-AE40-D7BFFACD3CB3.jpg

    image2.jpg

    Aliza, thank you for your comments! As I said, I decided to try the UVB, also because I like having the plants in the habitat (they are all gecko-approved, I promise!), and I like the response (even if it's coincidental) that I've seen from him already. I appreciate you saying you don't worry too much about ambient temperature, because everything I've been reading is SO finicky about temperature and has me all anxious about it lol. The humidity has been staying around 20-30% which I think is about right?


    EDIT: I don't know why the pictures are so tiny, I'd fix it if I could! Sorry about that.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by desert_rat; 02-21-2019 at 11:55 AM.

  5. #5
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    Hi ~

    1. What dimensions is his heat mat? Most heat should be belly heat.
    2. Are these air temps or ground temps: "warm side stays about 90, cool side is about 82"?
    3. Zoo Med's Reptivite D3 is an excellent supplement. My vet says to use it ONLY lightly @ 1 feeding per week. Please get Zoo Med's Repti Calcium without D3 for 2 other feedings per week. See Schedule 124 below.
    4. The humid hide goes on the warm end. The warmth generates humidity to keep your leo hydrated and to assist with shedding. A cool damp leo will be prone to respiratory tract infections.
    5. Please remove the 10.0 UVB.
    6. Decent ambient humidity in a leo enclosure ranges from 40-60%.
    7. When you click on the pics, they get a little bigger.

    A ReptiSun 10.0 UVB is way too strong for a 10 gallon setup! Wait until you have a much larger enclosure to provide UVB.

    A leo needs ground temps underneath the warm dry hide between 88-92* F. If those temps aren't met, that's one reason why a leo might not eat. Many round (analog) thermometers aren't very accurate.

    Temperatures - A temperature gradient from warm to cool maintains your leo's health. Here's a temperature guide for all leopard geckos as measured with the probe of a digital thermometer or a temp gun (and controlled by a thermostat set at 91*F/32.8*C):
    • 88-92 F (31.1-33.3 C) ground temperature right underneath a leo's warm dry hide
    • no greater than 82ish F (27.8ish C) air temperature - 4 inches above ground on the warm end
    • no greater than 75 F (23.9 C) air temperature - 4 inches above ground on the cool end

    Leave the heat mat/UTH on 24/7. At night turn off overhead lighting/heating (~12 hours on and ~12 hours off) unless ambient room temperatures drop lower than 67ish*F (19.4*C).


    Weekly Schedule 124 for Leopard Geckos 0-12 months old
    (without UVB)
    Adapted for your leo

    • Crickets or dubia >> Monday - lightly dusted with Zoo Med Reptivite multivitamins
      with D3
    • Mealworms >> Tuesday
    • Crickets or dubia >> Wednesday - lightly dusted with pure precipitated calcium carbonate (Zoo Med's Repti Calcium or NOW human brand calcium) without D3
    • Crickets or dubia >> Thursday
    • Crickets or dubia >> Friday - lightly dusted with pure precipitated calcium carbonate (Zoo Med's Repti Calcium or NOW human brand calcium) without D3
    • Mealworms >> Saturday
    • No food or free choice >> Sunday
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 02-21-2019 at 02:04 PM.
    "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)

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    Thanks so much for your response!

    So should I have the humid warm hide, and one dry cool hide? I have it backwards, is what you're saying? I can just move the moist sphagnum moss to the current warm hide, he loves it in there. I was just worried about the UTH evaporating the moisture too quickly.

    I appreciate your UVB feedback. I still don't understand the negativity towards UVB from the leopard gecko community, especially if they have plenty of places to hide from it if they want to? I've heard of absolutely no negative effects of UVB, but I can understand 10.0 being too strong. Would a 5.0 be more preferable? Or wait until I expand entirely?

    It's definitely warm enough in there, I'm very sure of that, but again, the rheostat/thermostat with probe is on its way and then I can be sure!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by desert_rat View Post
    Thanks so much for your response!

    So should I have the humid warm hide, and one dry cool hide? I have it backwards, is what you're saying? I can just move the moist sphagnum moss to the current warm hide, he loves it in there. I was just worried about the UTH evaporating the moisture too quickly.

    I appreciate your UVB feedback. I still don't understand the negativity towards UVB from the leopard gecko community, especially if they have plenty of places to hide from it if they want to? I've heard of absolutely no negative effects of UVB, but I can understand 10.0 being too strong. Would a 5.0 be more preferable? Or wait until I expand entirely?

    It's definitely warm enough in there, I'm very sure of that, but again, the rheostat/thermostat with probe is on its way and then I can be sure!
    You are welcome.

    Please answer the questions I asked above. I was editing while you posted.

    Actually a leo should have 3 hides: warm dry, warm humid, and cool dry. Within a 10 gallon it's difficult to fit everything in. It's typical for humid hides to dry out quickly. Here's a humid hide you could make.
    UVB is appropriate for leo enclosures about 3 feet long. There needs to be ample hides and places for a leo to dodge the rays. It's also important for a UVB to be provided on the warm end for best practices.

    You're on the right tract choosing Zoo Med's ReptiSun lighting. Just wait till you've got a 3 foot long enclosure.

    Please put one of your analog thermometers under the warm dry hide. What does it read?
    "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)

  8. #8
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    To answer your questions:

    What dimensions is his heat mat? Most heat should be belly heat.
    Good question. Lol I got the one that was sized for a 10 gallon tank; it seems to cover about 1/4 to 1/3 of the tank?

    Are these air temps or ground temps: "warm side stays about 90, cool side is about 82"?
    These are air temps but I had the heat source too close to the gauges when I said that. I have since corrected it, and the temp gauges are about 3-4 inches from the ground, on the respective sides of the cages. Warm side, ambient, is about 85 (again, need the rheostat to make this consistent with the CHE), and the cool side is about 75. Again, ambient air temps. I will do as you suggested and put one in the warm hide and record that temp.

    Zoo Med's Reptivite D3 is an excellent supplement. My vet says to use it ONLY lightly @ 1 feeding per week. Please get Zoo Med's Repti Calcium without D3 for 2 other feedings per week. See Schedule 124 below.
    The one without D3 is in the mail with the rheostat! My local pet store didn't have it in stock.

    The humid hide goes on the warm end. The warmth generates humidity to keep your leo hydrated and to assist with shedding. A cool damp leo will be prone to respiratory tract infections.
    I will add damp moss to the current warm hide. There IS room, as small as he is right now, to add a warm dry hide for the third you recommended, if it's a small hide, so I will do that. I do plan to expand the habitat as he grows.

    Please remove the 10.0 UVB.
    I literally returned it over lunch. Your explanation about size of the habitat makes sense! I'll go to a 2.0 or 5.0 UVB when I am able to give him a bigger home.

    Decent ambient humidity in a leo enclosure ranges from 40-60%.
    They're desert animals though? My understanding was for it to be, in the entire tank, under 40, with the humid hides for them to get more humidity if needed?



    You're really being so helpful, thank you!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by desert_rat View Post
    Moist hide is on the cool side, to help prevent evaporation. I as of yet don't have a thermostat with a probe, I have a rheostat in the mail right now that I will hook up to the CHE that will double as the warm hide thermostat.

    Below is a picture of my set up. Warm side on the left, cool side on the right.


    5BA85E4F-FF63-4A4E-83A7-9F2733E55105.jpg

    Since I posted this yesterday, I had to go to PetCo for chews for my dogs and I went ahead and picked up a ReptiSun 10.0 UVB light. And actually I've seen him bathing in it twice already, once this morning, which I've heard some are wont to do. He's actually active first thing in the morning after I turn his light on.

    B09E24E5-1CC0-4004-AE40-D7BFFACD3CB3.jpg

    image2.jpg

    Aliza, thank you for your comments! As I said, I decided to try the UVB, also because I like having the plants in the habitat (they are all gecko-approved, I promise!), and I like the response (even if it's coincidental) that I've seen from him already. I appreciate you saying you don't worry too much about ambient temperature, because everything I've been reading is SO finicky about temperature and has me all anxious about it lol. The humidity has been staying around 20-30% which I think is about right?


    EDIT: I don't know why the pictures are so tiny, I'd fix it if I could! Sorry about that.
    The humidity has been staying around 20-30% which I think is about right?

    A bit too dry. Between 40-60% would be best.

  10. #10
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    Did he start basking after you placed the UVB bulb or before? If he started basking after, he may be low on vitamin D and I don’t think you should remove it until he starts eating. Instead, control how long it’s on (perhaps 3 hours a day)because it’s in a tight space. How long was he basking for?
    Last edited by Sg612; 02-21-2019 at 04:56 PM.

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