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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Leopard Gecko Help Needed!


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    Hello, my name is Fanatic, and I am new to this website!

    I need desperate guidance with my leopard gecko, as we've been having some trouble knowing who to believe and what advice to go from in order to care for ours. She was purchased a bit over a year ago from a reptarium that specializes with a wide variety of different reptiles and amphibians.

    Alright, so moving on to a bit of a timeline from the date of purchase leading up to now...

    We brought her home and introduced her to a 30x12x12 inch enclosure, and it had hardened excavator clay as the substrate, three different hides, and a water dish. We were told that the substrate wasn't right and that we should switch over to loose substrates because leopard geckos need to dig, and we didn't think that advice was accurate due to being told by the internet that they will ingest most substrates and become impacted. Well, after struggling with her diet and actually getting her to eat, we realized that the lighting we were using was all wrong, and the light was actually hurting her eyes, so she had trouble seeing her way around.

    The time came when we felt confident to switch over to loose substrates, so we put her on dry coconut fiber substrate, commonly known as ecoearth. She has never impacted once despite eating some mouthfulls during a feeding, and we learned that the husbandry has to do with that issue actually becoming a problem if not done correctly. It has been a battle, but when we finally thought we were settling in, we were very wrong. Currently, she's in a 36x18x16 inch enclosure that we upgraded to after new years, and she's had a lot more room than before which I think has caused her to be a bit nervous to explore at first, but she made her way around and now we find her laying on top of cork bark or climbing on the wooden hide logs.

    Now, to discuss our real problems and concerns that we desperately need answers to.

    @Aimless I heard you were really trustworthy with most species of geckos, so I am going to tag you in for some help.

    As you know, we have her in an enclosure measuring 36x18x16, which comes out to be about 40 gallons. The tank has a screen top on it right now, and the lighting is a hanging dome fixture with a ZooMed 10.0 13W UVB. I don't know if that is too large or too small, we've had a lot of issues with the lighting. It's suspended about fifteen inches from the substrate, two inches from the screen top. It's not very bright, but I heard that leopard geckos don't need a terribly bright daylight, but I have no idea whether that is true or not. The hot side is heated by a heating pad underneath where the substrate is about an inch deep or so.

    She only eats crickets, no worms and hardly touches the dubia roaches, for some reason she only has a taste for crickets which is a bit odd, but if she's eating we'll take it. She has slowed down considerably in the last few months, and my sibling (who cares for this gecko) says that is due to the summer months being a natural egg laying period where they will slow down on food for a while.

    Questions
    1. How deep should the substrate be?

    2. Is the lighting we have suitable, or are changed needed?

    3. Do they absolutely need a screen top, or can we change that?

    4. I want to make the tank as natural as possible, so would it be a good idea to add a sand to the substrate or the possibility of some rough areas with pebbles or gravel?

    Thanks for answering, we really need this help!
    "Pets can bring all sorts of memories, cherish the good ones."

    "If you enjoy something,
    don't let anything stand in your way,
    pursue your dreams."

    40 Gallon "36x18x16" enclosure with a female Eublepharis Macularius (Leopard Gecko)
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  2. #2
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    OK for substrate. if you do a google image search for "leopard gecko natural habitat" and ignore the pics of pet cages, you can see that where they actually live is scrubby brush, compacted sand, and rocks. so a completely loose substrate is not going to accurately reflect that. they don't live on a sand dune, you know? the DIY subforum in here has some good threads on how to build a natural substrate with burrows and stuff for your gecko.

    I think it's a good idea to keep the screen top, ventilation is important. just be certain there's a good humid hide and you're golden.

    hmmmm a 10.0 UVB bulb is a little high for a nocturnal gecko. I'm assuming you only have it on during the day? is the gecko out and about during the day? I would use a lower UV setting for sure.


    OK last two things: we need pics of the gecko, the whole body and a close up of the face if you can. also pics of the existing enclosure. the other thing, are you measuring the temp at the top of the substrate over the heat mat? if so, how? if not, you really need to start. IME the vast majority of "problems" reptiles develop is because their humidity is off, or their temps are off. you can get a little infrared spot-temp tool for around $30 and they're much more reliable than the stick-on thermometers most pet stores carry.
    [I]* Morelia spilota harrisoni * Morelia spilota mcdowelli *Liasis olivaceous olivaceous * Blaesodactylus boivini * /I]
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  3. #3
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    I definitely notice that, and I did find some inspirational photos so maybe I can go off of that, we have some amazing rocks that we've collected over the years.

    See, that's the problem, he didn't put a moist hide in the tank since we upgraded, so it's been a good while. We'll have to get on making one right away. So, are you saying we shouldn't use this bulb? Yes, it's on a timer for 12 hours on and 12 hours off. It can be suspended further from the substrate if needed. I was wondering if we could also use an aquarium LED to achieve a brighter daylight setting?

    The heat mat is on a jumpstart thermostat, and we can adjust it as needed, but we are unsure of how hot the top of the substrate is, we have the probe mounted to the bottom underneath the inch of dirt. It stays around 100F.

    Here's one picture, we'll have to get more full body ones later today as well as the enclosure.

    "Pets can bring all sorts of memories, cherish the good ones."

    "If you enjoy something,
    don't let anything stand in your way,
    pursue your dreams."

    40 Gallon "36x18x16" enclosure with a female Eublepharis Macularius (Leopard Gecko)

  4. #4
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    Also, what type of substrate would you recommend? I was thinking about doing a mix of the eco earth, playsand, and some gravel if that is alright.
    "Pets can bring all sorts of memories, cherish the good ones."

    "If you enjoy something,
    don't let anything stand in your way,
    pursue your dreams."

    40 Gallon "36x18x16" enclosure with a female Eublepharis Macularius (Leopard Gecko)

  5. #5
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    as I said, I think you should check in the DIY subforum for substrate builds. you'll see good recommendations with photos.

    a moist hide is 100% required at all times. even if you just put in a little plastic dish with a wet paper towel until you can build something nicer, I wouldn't wait on that.

    for the light? as long as it's not right on top of him and he can get away from it it's probably alright. how high up is it? does he sit under it?

    that's a handsome gecko.
    [I]* Morelia spilota harrisoni * Morelia spilota mcdowelli *Liasis olivaceous olivaceous * Blaesodactylus boivini * /I]

  6. #6
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    Okay, I will definitely remember to check that out.

    I am getting the containers for the moist hide made in the next day to be put in, we do have sphagnum moss that can be moistened and put inside, but we were using some rags as a base of moisture in the hide previously. I found a really good hide idea from a website where they were using skinny neck terra cotta vases with moss inside as a hide, but we’ll probably stick with our current ones for now.

    The light itself is suspended above the screen by about two inches, and the tank is sixteen inches tall, so I would say the distance between the light and the substrate is about 15 inches, since the substrate is about an inch deep on that side. We can raise or lower it as needed. She doesn’t sit directly under it as far as I can tell, but that’d put her out in the open. When I redo this tank I will be sure to include more space to climb and sit for adequate light if necessary.

    Can we use an aquarium LED for extra daytime brightness? The UVB alone isn’t very bright at all.
    "Pets can bring all sorts of memories, cherish the good ones."

    "If you enjoy something,
    don't let anything stand in your way,
    pursue your dreams."

    40 Gallon "36x18x16" enclosure with a female Eublepharis Macularius (Leopard Gecko)

  7. #7
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    yeah you can use an LED. I wouldn't use anything super bright, she doesn't need it.
    [I]* Morelia spilota harrisoni * Morelia spilota mcdowelli *Liasis olivaceous olivaceous * Blaesodactylus boivini * /I]

  8. #8
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    Alright, well the LED aquarium light was too bright, but I did find a LED house bulb at 7 watts, and it's a light yellow color, would this work?

    It generated very little heat, it's an energy efficient bulb.
    "Pets can bring all sorts of memories, cherish the good ones."

    "If you enjoy something,
    don't let anything stand in your way,
    pursue your dreams."

    40 Gallon "36x18x16" enclosure with a female Eublepharis Macularius (Leopard Gecko)

  9. #9
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    yeah that should be fine.
    [I]* Morelia spilota harrisoni * Morelia spilota mcdowelli *Liasis olivaceous olivaceous * Blaesodactylus boivini * /I]

  10. #10
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    I have been working on the heating and fixing what isn't right, and after refering to the leopard gecko caresheet on this forum I found some extremely helpful tips. I am ordering another ultratherm 11x17 so that I can line up two next to each other to cover half the bottom of the tank, and the jumpstart thermostat is working perfectly.

    I also made a moist hide from a tupperware container which I cut a hole into and covered with airline tubing cut into half so I could fold it over the edges. It has moistened sphagnum moss in it.

    I am going to order a new set of hides, new substrate, and the extra heater. Then we should be good to go!
    "Pets can bring all sorts of memories, cherish the good ones."

    "If you enjoy something,
    don't let anything stand in your way,
    pursue your dreams."

    40 Gallon "36x18x16" enclosure with a female Eublepharis Macularius (Leopard Gecko)

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