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Thread: Noob tank post!

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    Default Noob tank post!


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    Hi all! New Leo owner here. Apologies for the long post ahead.

    Current setup: 20 gallon tank (30x12x12), 8w Zoo Med UTH, cork cool hide, cork warm hide, water dish, mealworm dish, and Zilla jungle mix substrate. Everything but the tank and dishes were bought at and recommended by my local reptile center (including my new baby). Warm side is sitting at 93 degrees. I'm not sure what the cool side is sitting at, I stupidly put the temperature gauge 4-5 inches up the side of the tank and don't have a probe for that side yet. Humidity is at 37%.

    I know I don't have a moist hide yet. I was told at the reptile center that with the jungle mix as a substrate, I wouldn't need a moist hide. The hide in the photo next to my hand was only in the tank until I got their actual water dish and then removed (the reptile center also said I should make their hides as similar as possible so they don't show favoritism and always choose one over the other).

    Are there any adjustments I should make? I'll be making a post in the substrate forum specifically for that topic. Leopard_Geck_Tank.jpg

    Thanks in advance!

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    Default Noob substrate post!

    Hi all! New Leo owner here.

    I read sooooo many different options/opinions about substrate before getting my setup, i.e. paper towels are the best but don't use them if you have a UTH; tile is the best substrate, but really hard and some leos like to burow; non-adhesive shelf liner, but shelf liners give off fumes. I was originally going to get reptile terrarium liner (carpet), but didn't want to risk their toes getting caught and their claws/toenails being pulled off. This is why I went with the recommendation of jungle mix from the reptile center.

    I'm worried about my buddy hunting for crickets and accidentally eating some of the substrate. I'm also slightly worried that I can't tell if they've poo'd yet. Should I just change the whole tank to a different substrate? I really like the more "natural" look of this setup, but I also want my buddy to be as healthy as possible.

    (I made a post in the husbandry, housing, and heating forum with my complete tank setup, if anyone wants to check that out before commenting here: Noob tank post!).

    Thanks in advance!

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    Welcome to Geckos Unlimited! You've purchased a good size enclosure for your leo. Hopefully that will keep "him" content as he grows.

    Do you live in a particularly warm area? A Zoo Med 8 watt heat mat = 6 x 8 inches. That's much too small for a 20 long. I highly recommend Ultratherm's 11 x 17 inch mat. USA-based Reptile Basics sells those for $22. Both the warm dry hide and the warm moist hide should sit on top the heat mat.

    The warm dry hide in your first picture looks more secure. How about using that hide or a hide like this? It's not important for all hides to match.

    You've mentioned the warm moist hide is missing and that the ambient humidity = 37%. 37% ambient humidity may be OK for general humidity. The warm moist hide should be significantly more humid than that. A decent room humidity from 40-60% is great for a leopard gecko.

    I will experiment with this warm humid hide for my leo soon. This specific hide would be relatively easy to keep moist and might make a good humid hide.

    1. Have you a thermostat for your heat mat?
    2. Have you a digital thermometer with a probe to verify a thermostat's setting?
    3. Do you plan to feed your leo free-range?
    4. What supplements have you now?

    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 dry hide ground temperature: 88-92 F (31.1-33.3 C) inside a leo's warm dry hide.
    • Warm humid/moist hide: Also place the humid hide 100% on top of the heat mat. Keep temperatures similar to the warm dry hide.
    • Cool dry hide 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; 05-04-2020 at 07:57 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 MsTwiitch thanked for this post

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    Hi Elizabeth, thanks for the reply!

    I live in a very warm area. Phoenix, Arizona to be exact. We're hitting triple digits regularly now and will be until at least September, with the highest being 115-120. I also have the hottest room in my apartment. Currently the warm side of my tank is 93 degrees (probe from my digital thermometer is in the warm hide) and the cool side is 80 degrees (I took the stick-on temperature gauge off the wall of the tank and stuck it in the substrate). I worry that with a larger UTH, the temperature gradient will be smaller than it is currently.

    I don't have a thermostat yet, I've just been obsessively checking the digital thermometer, but will be getting one soon so it doesn't get too hot as the Phoenix summer heats up. Being in the hottest room in the apartment, I'm actually a bit concerned about the cool side not being able to stay cool enough as it gets warmer.

    I was planning on doing a mix of free-range (crickets) and bowl feeding. I started with mealworms for bowl feeding, but after reading the pro's and con's of mealworms article linked in the food and feeding forum, I'm highly considering switching to maybe dubia roaches. What other options are small enough to feed a baby leo?

    I haven't fed my leo any crickets yet. I'm slightly concerned about the possibility of accidentally ingesting substrate while hunting crickets. These crickets are so small I'm having a really hard time grabbing them with tongs, which leads me to be concerned about my leo not being able to successfully grab them from the tongs. I did feed them 1 mealworm by tongs last night and that took two attempts to grab from the tongs. The other 3 mealworms I had prepared went into their mealworm dish, but were still there when I woke up this morning.

    Someone commented on a Facebook post of mine suggesting a 5 gallon tank lined with paper towels specifically for days when feeding crickets, until my leo has mastered hunting enough for the crickets to go in their normal tank. Thoughts?

    My current supplements are Rep-Cal Phosphorous-Free Calcium with D3 and Rep-Cal Herptivite with Beta Carotene multivitamin.

    My buddy has been staying almost exclusively in their warm hide. They sat on top of the cool hide for a few minutes after eating the mealworm last night, but went back to the warm hide fairly quickly and has remained there. They're usually snuggled up to the side of the hide, which makes me think they do't feel secure enough in that hide. Due to this, I'm thinking of getting some smaller hides until my buddy grows into these ones. I did put the hide in the photo with my hand from my intro post in the middle of the tank this morning, as another option.

    I also haven't seen any evidence of poo, which is a bit concerning

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    I use ceramic Tiles as my substrate and it works great. Easy to clean and distributes the heat evenly across the tank. If your Leo likes to dig than you could put a small closed container big enough for him to dig in and fill it with loose substrate ( I have never done this as my Leo doesn't like to dig ). Hope this helps
    Likes Elizabeth Freer liked this post

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    Hi Elizabeth, thanks for the reply!

    You're welcome!

    I live in a very warm area. Phoenix, Arizona to be exact. We're hitting triple digits regularly now and will be until at least September, with the highest being 115-120. I also have the hottest room in my apartment. Currently the warm side of my tank is 93 degrees (probe from my digital thermometer is in the warm hide) and the cool side is 80 degrees (I took the stick-on temperature gauge off the wall of the tank and stuck it in the substrate). I worry that with a larger UTH, the temperature gradient will be smaller than it is currently.

    What ground temp do you get on the middle floor? It's fine to have ~1/3 "cool" end and ~2/3 "warm" end.

    What happens in fall, winter, and spring in Phoenix
    ?

    I don't have a thermostat yet, I've just been obsessively checking the digital thermometer, but will be getting one soon so it doesn't get too hot as the Phoenix summer heats up. Being in the hottest room in the apartment, I'm actually a bit concerned about the cool side not being able to stay cool enough as it gets warmer.

    Is anyone willing to switch rooms with you? That would be the easiest solution.

    Do you guys use A/C during the summer?

    I was planning on doing a mix of free-range (crickets) and bowl feeding. I started with mealworms for bowl feeding, but after reading the pro's and con's of mealworms article linked in the food and feeding forum, I'm highly considering switching to maybe dubia roaches. What other options are small enough to feed a baby leo?

    Young dubia are fine for bowl feeding baby leos. I use a rock as a stepping stone up to this Anchor-brand, 8 ounce bowl's lip (WalMart) for my adult leo. WalMart's sturdy clear glass tealight candle holders make great bowls for juvie leos. For a cricket and a roach dry diet I recommend Professional Reptiles' Pro Gutload + certain high calcium/low phosphorus veggies.

    100616047478978p.jpg

    For link 164 click: Keeping & Breeding Multiple Feeder Roaches + Kyle's self-cleaning dubia roach setup -- May 2020

    I haven't fed my leo any crickets yet. I'm slightly concerned about the possibility of accidentally ingesting substrate while hunting crickets. These crickets are so small I'm having a really hard time grabbing them with tongs, which leads me to be concerned about my leo not being able to successfully grab them from the tongs. I did feed them 1 mealworm by tongs last night and that took two attempts to grab from the tongs. The other 3 mealworms I had prepared went into their mealworm dish, but were still there when I woke up this morning.

    I'm glad you're replacing the substrate with textured ceramic tiles. If you are interested, slate cheese boards 16 x 11.8 inches are available via Amazon.


    Someone commented on a Facebook post of mine suggesting a 5 gallon tank lined with paper towels specifically for days when feeding crickets, until my leo has mastered hunting enough for the crickets to go in their normal tank. Thoughts?

    That might work. It's less stressful to feed your leo inside his home.

    My current supplements are Rep-Cal Phosphorous-Free Calcium with D3 and Rep-Cal Herptivite with Beta Carotene multivitamin.

    I prefer Zoo Med's supplements.

    Weekly Schedule 124 for Leopard Geckos 0-12 months old
    (withOUT UVB)
    Early stage metabolic bone disease (MBD) symptoms include uneven (lopsided) gait, walking on one or both "elbows", bowed limbs, belly dragging, and an underbite.
    The Reptile Supply Company based in Lodi, California stocks Zoo Med's ReptiVite multivitamins withOUT D3.
    Feed lightly dusted prey 3x per week.

    • Monday > > crickets or dubia lightly dusted with Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3
    • Tuesday > > mealworms, superworms, or black soldier fly larvae (Phoenix worms) > > no dusting
    • Wednesday > > crickets or dubia lightly dusted with pure precipitated calcium carbonate withOUT D3 (Zoo Med's Repti Calcium or NOW human brand calcium)
    • Thursday > > mealworms, superworms, or black soldier fly larvae (Phoenix worms) > > no dusting
    • Friday > > crickets or dubia lightly dusted with Zoo Med's ReptiVite multivitamins withOUT D3
    • Saturday > > mealworms, superworms, or black soldier fly larvae (Phoenix worms) > > no dusting
    • Sunday > > no food or free choice > > no dusting
    My buddy has been staying almost exclusively in their warm hide. They sat on top of the cool hide for a few minutes after eating the mealworm last night, but went back to the warm hide fairly quickly and has remained there. They're usually snuggled up to the side of the hide, which makes me think they do't feel secure enough in that hide. Due to this, I'm thinking of getting some smaller hides until my buddy grows into these ones. I did put the hide in the photo with my hand from my intro post in the middle of the tank this morning, as another option.

    That's a great observation! Your leo's cork bark hides are way too open especially for the warm dry hide. Your initial white hide with ledges is a much better warm dry hide. For the cool hide it doesn't much matter. It's easy to make a warm humid hide. You could fill it with your former substrate or sphagnum moss.

    IMG_0234 (1).jpg


    I also haven't seen any evidence of poo, which is a bit concerning

    You'll find poop on tile. Healthy poops are brown with white urates. The feces is usually 2-3x longer than the urates.
    "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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