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    Default The Saga of Young Lemons


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    Well s/hes finally here! I'm in love already, but the last 48 hours have been something of a nightmare and I'm still very anxious.

    Everything that I had ordered for the terrarium arrived without a hitch. The one missing piece was the ultratherm heat mat (and arcadia shadedweller, but less critical to me for initial set up) that I ordered 3 weeks earlier but was delayed several times. Finally the mat was set to arrive on Monday and Lemons on Thursday. This would give me enough time to put the enclosure together and get the temps set up right. I'm tracking this thing like a maniac and there do not appear to be any issues. Monday afternoon comes around and my UTH hasn't arrived. Suddenly I get an email from FedEx that I assumed was an update on my UTH, but no! It's a message with tracking information from the reptile shipping company and a message that my gecko has been shipped out and will be delivered by 10:30 am the next morning!!! The breeder I purchased gecko from got the day wrong. I spent an hour on the phone with FedEx about my UTH and they can't figure out what happened. Turns out it never even made it to my city, despite the tracking information. So now it's Monday night at 6 pm during a lockdown. I have no heat mat and the enclosure has not yet been set up. I ran to a local reptile store that thankfully was open (and open late) and bought the biggest ZooMed UTH they had (30/40 gal for my 20 gal long) and a nano CEH and nano lamp in case the UTH couldn't do the trick. I had a pretty elaborate slate rock cave design planned out and so I was up until around 2 am organizing the slate pieces and glueing rocks together, setting up hides, and gutloading the worms I thankfully bought too early out of excitement.

    At around 6 am I went to check on the temps. I have two digital thermometers with probes for either side of the terrarium. The warm side probe and thermostat probe are taped together but offset from one another sitting on top of the thin slate tile. The warm side wouldn't go past 84 F, so I plugged the CEH in and put it on top of the warm side to heat the slate rocks from above a bit and got it up to 92 very quickly. I actually called ZooMed customer service to see if i had a faulty mat and they said their UTH are not designed to heat the ground more than 8 to 10 degrees higher than room temperature and that their UTH did not require use of a thermostat. I would ideally have had both plugged into a thermostat but I only had the one available so I swapped the thermostat to control the CEH instead of the UTH until the Ultratherm arrives and I can replace both.

    I was pretty happy with my set up, and ready to welcome the newest member of the family. 10:30 came and went. No gecko. I called FedEx to see what was going on and they couldn't quite track where he is. I started to panic but thankfully after about an hour, s/he was home.

    This is Lemons, er, rotated:

    61039908061__FC746B8B-FDB2-42E8-876C-1CFF33EEEAF3.jpg

    I don't know how old Lemons is exactly or how much s/he weights - I asked the breeder multiple times for this information but never got a response (do your homework on breeders folks, they are by no means all equal) - but s/he is about 5 inches long. I put Lemons in the enclosure and got some mealworms ready to leave in a dish so s/he could eat when they felt like while acclimating, but they saw me put one in with tweezers and came right up to it so i dropped the worm and s/he ate it up. I produced another one and s/he ate that one too. I put in a third but s/he wasn't super interested and it got away in between the rocks. It was about noon and not typical food time for Leos, but I was pretty excited that s/he wanted to eat because I heard many don't eat the first couple of days in a new place.

    I left him/her alone for the most part checking in on temps every once in a while and to see where s/he was hanging out. S/he stayed almost exclusively in and around the rock cave hide I built on the cool side. I thought maybe since s/he had been stuffed in a small dark box with a heating pack for 24 hours s/he just needed to cool off a bit. It was warm here yesterday and the temps on the cool side were between 74-78 most of the day, but s/he has pretty much stayed there every time I've went in to check. I caught him/her snoozing on top of the driftwood in between the warm and cool sides, but mostly s/he seems to stay on the cool side and nap. Warm side was set to 88 on the low side and 92 on the high side, so I turned the thermostat high down to 91. After that I did see him/her venture to the warm hide once later last night so could be s/he just prefers the darker cave setting when I'm in the room. Around 7 pm I went to see if s/he was maybe active and interested in more food and boy was s/he. S/he put away 15 small phoenix worms and 1 big hornworm. I'm pretty excited s/he's into the phoenix worms as I would love to keep those as part of his/her regular rotation.

    This morning I found him/her trying to climbing the glass, so I'm trying to stay out of that room as much as possible and give him/her space to adjust, but when I went to put in a mealworm dish, again s/he became super interested and put away 15 mealworms that I put in front of him/her one by one. I also found some waste this morning. It was a little white blob with what looked like a small stream of liquid that had dried up around it so I think I know where the poop pad will go!

    Some questions I still have:


    • I know the young ones eat a lot and everyday, but I don't want to overfeed. I definitely don't plan to keep feeding twice a day, but if s/he's showing interest in food, should I provide it anyway? Even if it's daytime? S/he doesn't quite seem to get that the bowl is there so s/he's not approaching it on his/her own yet and so dropping the food in from of him/her seems to get him/her excited. Also, do i need to be concerned about the two worms that go away under the rocks? I'll try to find them when I do a weekly cleaning, but if they somehow turn into beetles soon, are they harmful to young Lemons?




    • I bought a variety pack of worm feeders to try out as I can't supply crickets or roaches. So far I'm having great luck with the phoenix worms and hope to try silkworms soon. If I am able to transition to phoenix worms as the primary feeder, do I forgo calcium altogether? Do I still need to dust the occasional treat (hornworms) with calcium or can I use those to deliver vitamins?




    • Also, he/she seems to be pretty active during the day time - mostly climbing the glass and decor right now, but also hunting and eating readily. I have him/her in a quiet room with a little bit of natural, indirect sunlight. Is his/her cycle potentially messed up because of the travel and should I change anything?




    • Should I be concerned that s/he's staying on the cool side mostly? My Ultratherm should arrive today and I will swap it out immediately so I can more properly regulate the heat, but do some Leos just prefer slightly cooler temps?




    • Moist hide doesn't appear to have been used or explored at all. I did notice the eco earth had already dried out completely by this morning, I think due to the CEH overhead, so I remoistened it. I have sphagnum moss as well but I read that many young leos try to eat the moss because its so stringy and that its not suitable for juveniles. Should I try something else instead or just give it some more time with the eco earth?




    • Advice on how to replace the UTH. Would it be more stressful to simply lift and reposition the terrarium around with lemons in it or to try to take him/her out of the terrarium and moved to a temporary box while doing it? I think between my husband and I we could easily do it without causing too much of a disturbance, but I'd love to get other people's thoughts on this!

  2. #2
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    At around 6 am I went to check on the temps. I have two digital thermometers with probes for either side of the terrarium. The warm side probe and thermostat probe are taped together but offset from one another sitting on top of the thin slate tile. The warm side wouldn't go past 84 F, so I plugged the CEH in and put it on top of the warm side to heat the slate rocks from above a bit and got it up to 92 very quickly. I actually called ZooMed customer service to see if i had a faulty mat and they said their UTH are not designed to heat the ground more than 8 to 10 degrees higher than room temperature and that their UTH did not require use of a thermostat. I would ideally have had both plugged into a thermostat but I only had the one available so I swapped the thermostat to control the CEH instead of the UTH until the Ultratherm arrives and I can replace both.
    Welcome home, Lemons!

    10* higher than room temperature? Many/most people keep room temps right around 70*F. 80*F is totally insufficient to keep a leo warm.

    Did you order an 11 x 17 Ultratherm?
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 05-06-2020 at 07:17 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)

  3. #3
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    Advice on how to replace the UTH. Would it be more stressful to simply lift and reposition the terrarium around with lemons in it or to try to take him/her out of the terrarium and moved to a temporary box while doing it? I think between my husband and I we could easily do it without causing too much of a disturbance, but I'd love to get other people's thoughts on this!
    Are you ready with Nashua electrical tape to stick the Ultratherm in place? You'll need multiple tape rolls as well as a big Nashua tape "X" covering your Ultratherm.

    I suggest removing all the contents and flipping the tank. It's quite important that the Ultratherm fit snugly against the base of the enclosure.
    "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)

  4. #4
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    More later . . . . . .
    "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, Elizabeth! The ultratherm just arrived after I wrote this post and my husband and I were able to replace the UTH with little disturbance to lemons. I used a heat resistant double sided tape along the inside center line to keep from sagging and taped the outside edges with Nashua tape. The tank is slightly raised on feet and I was able to wedged a piece of styrofoam to insulate the mat. Within 15 minutes temps stabilized at 91 and lemons has already ventured over to the warm hide and is hanging out there now. I can also see the moisture building up nicely in the humid hide so all in all, a success it would seem!
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    Glad things are going well after a rough start. Just a note on the Zoomed heat mats for general information, even though you're not using yours. Having used them for more than 15 years I can tell you that:
    --although there are some combinations of substrates and heat mat sizes where you don't need a thermostat, it's definitely not true that you don't need a thermostat with Zoomed UTH's. Especially with heat being trapped inside the warm hide, the temps can get up over 100F without a thermostat
    --Zoomed also says that their thermostats can only be used with glass and not with plastic (I imagine they say that for liability reasons). It's no problem to use them with plastic as long as you have a thermostat
    --Although the Zoomed heat mat instructions say they will get up to their maximum heat in 6 hours, I have often found with a new UTH that it can take several days for the temperatures to stabilize (another reason to use a thermostat).

    enjoy Lemons

    Aliza

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stefoosh View Post
    Thanks, Elizabeth! The ultratherm just arrived after I wrote this post and my husband and I were able to replace the UTH with little disturbance to lemons. I used a heat resistant double sided tape along the inside center line to keep from sagging and taped the outside edges with Nashua tape. The tank is slightly raised on feet and I was able to wedged a piece of styrofoam to insulate the mat. Within 15 minutes temps stabilized at 91 and lemons has already ventured over to the warm hide and is hanging out there now. I can also see the moisture building up nicely in the humid hide so all in all, a success it would seem!
    Your news sounds excellent on all accounts!

    I'm certain Lemons appreciates your efforts and flexibility during these uncertain times.
    "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, Aliza. I thought it was important to share what ZooMed customer service says about their own products. They in fact told me they wish there was less confusion around this product as it is not intended to provide ground heat, just a slightly warmer spot—I told her they should have called it reptiwarm and not reptiheat if they didn’t want to have this issue. I was also very surprised that they tell their customers that a thermostat is unnecessary. Either way, I’m glad the ultratherm finally arrived!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stefoosh View Post
    Thanks, Aliza. I thought it was important to share what ZooMed customer service says about their own products. They in fact told me they wish there was less confusion around this product as it is not intended to provide ground heat, just a slightly warmer spot—I told her they should have called it reptiwarm and not reptiheat if they didn’t want to have this issue. I was also very surprised that they tell their customers that a thermostat is unnecessary. Either way, I’m glad the ultratherm finally arrived!
    That's really interesting. Though all my newer enclosures use heat cable, I have been using the ZooMed UTH's for 17 years and they have largely done the job for me.

    Aliza

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