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    Default Son bought Gecko w/out researching - Help me help him not kill her


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    Long story short my son and his gf bought a leopard gecko 5 days ago w/ little to no research. They have their own place but are 19/18 yrs old. I don't want "Phoenix" to die as a result of their ill preparedness.


    She is in a 20 long. Here's a pic of the setup before I went shopping for my "Grand Gecko".

    20200227_230903.jpg
    received_633312380759048.jpg

    Also of the things I've bought.

    20200227_202909.jpg20200227_202718.jpg20200227_202730.jpg20200227_202656.jpg

    20200227_202951.jpg20200227_202811.jpg20200227_202825.jpg20200227_202939.jpg

    If someone could just help me help Phoenix stay alive with a bit of advice. Mainly the lighting is a bit confusing to me. Thanks in advance!!

  2. #2
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    Welcome aboard to you & Phoenix!

    Do you know how old she is? If not, how long is she? Please share a close-up of her entire body. Perhaps you could also share a minute-long video of her walking about.

    Lighting is definitely confusing. For a 20 long (30 x 12 x 12 inches tall) you'll actually need Zoo Med's Reptisun UVB mini-compact 10.0 fluorescent bulb. That's been specifically recommended for a 20 long enclosure by Dr. Fran Baines, one of facebook's Reptile Lighting group's admins.

    Place the mini-compact 10.0 Reptisun bulb inside an 8.5 inch diameter shallow dome light fixture directly above the warm end and right on the screen top.

    flukerslampdimmable8.jpg
    See whether you can find an 8.5 inch diameter shallow dome light fixture for the UVB bulb that does not have dimming features. UVB bulbs are only meant to be used at full strength.

    Ground heat is best for belly heat. I recommend an 11 x 17 inch Ultratherm heat mat from Reptile Basics (336-308-5767)

    Click link 81 to help you out: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet (abbreviated) -- February 2020 update (show handout)
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 03-02-2020 at 04:51 AM.
    "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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    Thank you! I just made a 30 min drive to another pet store. They did not have the 10, so i got the 5.0 for now. Phoenix is 1 yr old. I'll post a closer up and my purchases tonight. I'm a fish keeper so bt this and my fish it's getting expensive. lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kmbishop111 View Post
    Thank you! I just made a 30 min drive to another pet store. They did not have the 10, so i got the 5.0 for now. Phoenix is 1 yr old. I'll post a closer up and my purchases tonight. I'm a fish keeper so bt this and my fish it's getting expensive. lol
    You're welcome.

    I suggest waiting on UVB until you can order the mini 10.0 online. Reptile Basics (336-308-5767) seems to have reasonable prices.

    See whether you can find an 8.5 inch diameter dome fixture for the UVB bulb that does not have dimming features. The fixture you've pictured only spreads a narrow beam.

    Do you have a thermostat for your overhead heat?

    These are the temps you're looking for:
    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).

    Place the thermostat's probe and a digital thermometer's probe together right on top of the substrate underneath the warm dry hide. If you use a UTH + a CHE you'll need 2 separate thermostats, because ground and air temperatures are substantially different.
    • Warm end ground temperature: 88-92 F (31.1-33.3 C) inside a leo's warm dry hide and his moist hide too!
    • Cool end ground temperature: 70ish-75 F (21.1-23.9 C) Usually the cool end ground temperature matches the room temperature where the enclosure sits.
    • no greater than 82ish F (27.8ish C) air temperature - 4 inches (10 cm) above ground on the warm end
    • no greater than 75 F (23.9 C) air temperature - 4 inches (10 cm) above ground on the cool end

    Leave the heat mat/UTH on 24/7. If you wish, during the 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).
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 03-01-2020 at 12:52 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)
    Thanks Kmbishop111 thanked for this post

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    Oh my, I thought fish keeping was moderately difficult. lol This poor sweet soul, Phoenix, is in for rough times until we figure this out. I don't have a thermostat for them. I wish they would go ahead and just bring her to Grandma here so I can get her settled in. LOL I'm involved in animal rescue so it's killing me sitting back and watching this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kmbishop111 View Post
    Oh my, I thought fish keeping was moderately difficult. lol This poor sweet soul, Phoenix, is in for rough times until we figure this out. I don't have a thermostat for them. I wish they would go ahead and just bring her to Grandma here so I can get her settled in. LOL I'm involved in animal rescue so it's killing me sitting back and watching this.
    Let's concentrate on the basics. Phoenix has a great start with a 20 long! She doesn't really need UVB to start with. Powdered supplements will work just fine. Concentrate on getting a heat mat and a thermostat. It looks like you might already have a digital thermometer with a probe. I recommend the 11 x 17 inch heat mat above. Look online for either iPower or Hydrofarm's Jumpstart thermostats. It's easier to use a digital thermostat.

    In order to get decent ground temps with overhead light bulbs, air temps are way too warm.

    Phoenix needs at least 3 hides: a warm dry hide, a warm moist hide, and a cool hide. Here's my favorite warm dry hide. It needs to have a small opening and room for Phoenix to duck and cover. It should be relatively low to the ground.

    A warm moist hide is easy to make. Make sure the edges are smoothe. Fill the warm moist hide with damp moss.

    Leos often catch their toes or teeth in reptile carpet. Reptile carpet is difficult to keep clean. What do you think about getting textured ceramic tile from some place like Home Depot? It comes in 12 x 12 inch squares or even 12 x 18 inch rectangles. Some home improvement stores will cut tile to size. White paper towel is an adequate substrate while you think about the options. Some keepers use shelf liner with no adhesive.

    Have you thought about powdered supplements yet?
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 03-01-2020 at 03:33 AM.
    "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 Kmbishop111 thanked for this post

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    You are seriously a lifesaver!! Yes, I've bought them an undertank heater 7.8 in x 11.8 in 16 Watt. I picked up two reptile digital thermometers and a digital hygrometer tonight as well. She has 3 hides, a cool, a moist w damp moss, and a warm. She seems to like the Ecocarpet far better than the shelf liner or whatever it was they had in the tank. I will most def look into the tile at Home Depot tho.

    I picked her up some waxworms tonight and plan on getting some crickets tomorrow. They already have the calcium dusting powder for the crickets.

    What type of powdered supplements do you suggest?
    Thanks Elizabeth Freer thanked for this post

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kmbishop111 View Post
    You are seriously a lifesaver!! Yes, I've bought them an undertank heater 7.8 in x 11.8 in 16 Watt. I picked up two reptile digital thermometers and a digital hygrometer tonight as well. She has 3 hides, a cool, a moist w damp moss, and a warm. She seems to like the Ecocarpet far better than the shelf liner or whatever it was they had in the tank. I will most def look into the tile at Home Depot tho.

    I picked her up some waxworms tonight and plan on getting some crickets tomorrow. [COLOR="#0000FF"]They already have the calcium dusting powder for the crickets.

    What type of powdered supplements do you suggest?
    Thanks.

    Once Phoenix chooses her poop spot, cover it with a small tile or paper towels. That will facilitate clean up.

    May I ask what exact dusting powder they already have? I like to build upon that, when possible.

    The moist hide should sit on top of the heat mat too. You may find you need a larger heat mat. A cool, damp leo is prone to upper respiratory infections like pneumonia.

    Please offer a couple waxworms at only 2 feedings per month. Waxworms can be addictive (like ice cream). Sometimes once a leo's tasted waxworms, that's all they want. Waxworms are super high in fat. An inactive GU member who's now a vet told me that waxworms are high in vitamin C.

    Much better worms for Phoenix are literally called "Phoenix worms" (BSFL -- black soldier fly larvae).
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 03-04-2020 at 12:26 AM.
    "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)
    Likes Marillion liked this post

  9. #9
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    Some great advice, as always by Elizabeth above!! I second the not feeding Waxworms except perhaps as a treat. I have never fed waxworms to our Gecko simply because I don't want to risk him becoming an even more picky eater than he already is. I feed primarily crickets with mealworms as a treat perhaps once or twice a week. What you feed your feeders is also very important. Ground up Bearded Dragon pellets (purchasable on Amazon) are a great choice. I also use Repashy Bug Burger as a food and water source. The crickets love it and it is very healthy for them. Don't be put off by the higher price. It's a concentrated powder that you mix with water. It makes many, many portions from a small container.

    Also, I would not keep those red and blue lights. Not needed and they can do more harm than good. The textured ceramic tile is a great suggestion. Much easier to clean. I use that also.

    For now, get the housing and temps to the correct settings and then worry about the other parts. I keep fish also and I can tell you that, that also has it's intricacies if you do it right. But like keeping any pet, you can either provide conditions that allow them to survive or you can provide conditions that allow them to thrive. It definitely sounds like you are part of the latter group, hooray! Congrats on joining here and asking the right questions.
    Last edited by Marillion; 03-02-2020 at 12:16 PM.

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    Hello ~

    I haven't heard from you lately. How is Phoenix doing these days?
    "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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