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    Question New Leopard Gecko Owner


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    Good Morning All,

    New member here. My daughter got her first pet (Leopard Gecko) for Christmas. It is a baby that she has named Anthem.

    We had intended on picking up all of the necessary items for the habitat but a relative ended up getting the stuff for her. They ended up doing one of the 10 gallon starter kits and now we have several things that aren't needed and of course several more that are. Here is where my questions begin:

    I know the ideal starter tank is a 20L. I've already noticed it being a little cramped in the 10G with the hides. That said, is it urgent that we move to the 20L or will the 10G work for a bit until Anthem is bigger ?

    The kit came with (2) lights and domes. A daylight and nightlight. I understand from reading that it is better to not use lights, and instead use a Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE) with Thermostat. What wattage CHE is acceptable ? I've found a (2) pack 150W that I was thinking of picking up (but can go lower wattage if needed). Also, can I use the existing domes for the CHE ? I assume only (1) CHE is needed correct (which will of course be placed on the Warm Side) ? If only (1) CHE is needed, what (if anything) would the other dome be needed for ? Lastly, is it safe to rest the dome (with CHE) one the mesh lid (same as we currently are the lights) ?

    I do have a Under Tank Heater (UTH) but need to pick up a Thermostat as I understand that the UTH needs to be on a separate Thermostat from the CHE correct ? Also, this is likely a dumb question, but the UTH did come with an adhesive that I assume is to be used to get the mat to stick to the bottom of the tank. Is this safe to use given that it is a heat mat?

    The current substrate is that reptile carpet, which I see many suggestions about not using and replacing with either a non-stick shelf liner or textured tiles. I'll be looking into this but haven't found any tiles that fit right yet. If I use tile, I assume it should cover the entire bottom correct ? If more than 1 piece of tile is needed, do you worry about the cracks/gaps/space between the tiles?

    I do have (3) hides setup, though in all honesty, the moist hide was a last minute purchase when we got the Gecko as we didn't have one. I have a new hide for it coming in today. I believe the hides are all good, though I'm wondering if the one on the far left of the picture is suitable? Anthem seems to love it and stays in there all day, which is a bit odd as that is the cool side. That hide is also doubling as a food dish, though he hasn't used it as such yet.

    I apologize for the longer post, but figured best to do it in one instead of ask/answer then rinse and repeat over and over.

    Thanks you in advance for any and all answers/advice/suggestions.

    IMG_1137.jpg
    tank.jpg
    Last edited by ccapasso; 01-04-2021 at 10:26 AM.

  2. #2
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    Good Morning All,

    Welcome to Geckos Unlimited!

    New member here. My daughter got her first pet (Leopard Gecko) for Christmas. It is a baby that she has named Anthem.

    We had intended on picking up all of the necessary items for the habitat but a relative ended up getting the stuff for her. They ended up doing one of the 10 gallon starter kits and now we have several things that aren't needed and of course several more that are. Here is where my questions begin:

    I know the ideal starter tank is a 20L. I've already noticed it being a little cramped in the 10G with the hides. That said, is it urgent that we move to the 20L or will the 10G work for a bit until Anthem is bigger ?

    How about exchanging the stuff Anthem doesn't need for a 20 long? Sometimes pet stores are willing to exchange "kit type" purchases.

    When you set her up in a 20 long, she has a bigger playground. Upgrading in about 6 months won't be necessary.

    An 11 x 17 inch Ultratherm fits a 20 long best. Heating 1/2 the enclosure won't be overkill. Hides should be opaque with small entrances. The stair-step hide on the right makes a good cool hide.

    Reptile Basics: (336-308-5767) Also carries Ultratherm 11 x 17 inch heat pads/mats. Still $22 each as of October 2020.
    Reptile Basics

    Reptile Supply Company (Lodi, California): 916-226-4089 https://www.reptilesupplyco.com/8-products
    Use e-mail for customer service ---> info@ReptileSupplyCo.com
    [Zoo Med's Reptivite multivitamins withOUT D3 source
    Ultratherm 11 x 17 heat pads = $22 here too in October 2020.]
    The kit came with (2) lights and domes. A daylight and nightlight. I understand from reading that it is better to not use lights, and instead use a Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE) with Thermostat. What wattage CHE is acceptable ? I've found a (2) pack 150W that I was thinking of picking up (but can go lower wattage if needed). Also, can I use the existing domes for the CHE ? I assume only (1) CHE is needed correct (which will of course be placed on the Warm Side) ? If only (1) CHE is needed, what (if anything) would the other dome be needed for ? Lastly, is it safe to rest the dome (with CHE) one the mesh lid (same as we currently are the lights) ?

    I do have a Under Tank Heater (UTH) but need to pick up a Thermostat as I understand that the UTH needs to be on a separate Thermostat from the CHE correct ? Also, this is likely a dumb question, but the UTH did come with an adhesive that I assume is to be used to get the mat to stick to the bottom of the tank. Is this safe to use given that it is a heat mat?

    I recommend the 11 x 17 inch Ultratherm under tank mat to keep Anthem cozy. Ipower thermostats are good. My 15.5 year old leo has a Hydrofarm thermostat.

    For a 10 gallon, I would NOT use overhead (CHE) heat in addition to a heat mat! A CHE requires a separate thermostat.

    The current substrate is that reptile carpet, which I see many suggestions about not using and replacing with either a non-stick shelf liner or textured tiles. I'll be looking into this but haven't found any tiles that fit right yet. If I use tile, I assume it should cover the entire bottom correct ? If more than 1 piece of tile is needed, do you worry about the cracks/gaps/space between the tiles?

    Here's a link for slate tiles. Coaster-sized tiles would give Anthem a nice graduated base. Slate cheese trays work well too. Slate is great for absorbing heat.

    For link 163 click: Slate Cheese Trays 16" x 12" (11.8 inches = actual width) x 0.3 inch for Leo Substrate . . . . . . Gutler & Odinsmom -- November 2020 (update)

    I do have (3) hides setup, though in all honesty, the moist hide was a last minute purchase when we got the Gecko as we didn't have one. I have a new hide for it coming in today. I believe the hides are all good, though I'm wondering if the one on the far left of the picture is suitable? Anthem seems to love it and. stays in there all day, which is a bit odd as that is the cool side. That hide is also doubling as a food dish, though he hasn't used it as such yet.

    Warm dry & warm moist/humid hides should be opaque & have a single entrance. That helps your leo feel safe. You won't be sorry if you order her a large OMEM terra cotta humid hide from Amazon.
    Her stair-step hide on the right makes a good cool hide & a poop location.


    61YxB1xkfjL._SL1181_.jpg = Google "Exo Terra medium hide"

    51j0v+DN4pL._AC_SL1001_.jpg 61mhn0mS13L._AC_SL1400_.jpg 86661829_10221698393519102_8748129786678738944_o.jpg

    I apologize for the longer post, but figured best to do it in one instead of ask/answer then rinse and repeat over and over.

    Thanks you in advance for any and all answers/advice/suggestions.

    IMG_1137.jpg
    tank.jpg

    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 01-04-2021 at 12:15 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 ccapasso thanked for this post

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply.

    I was doing some checking and Petco currently has a 20L for $20. I'll have to get a new lid, but that can be done .

    I'm not familiar with the Ultratherm yet, will have to do some reading up on this, ty.

    When I do upgrade to the 20L, is there a certain wattage CHE I should be looking for, and would just (1) CHE do the trick or are (2) needed ?

    Thanks for the referral to the slate tray. I missed that when reading through the guide earlier. Will look into it for sure. I did see there are both the longer trays and the coasters, so will figure out which would fit best. Any concern with the edges of these trays/coasters (are they sharp) ?

    The moist hide shown is being replaced with this one:
    https://www.amazon.com/Exo-Terra-Gec...exo+terra+cave

    Should I consider replacing the far left hide with something or is it acceptable ?

    Thanks again

  4. #4
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    "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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    Would something like this work for a 20L substrate ?

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/MSI-Hamp...oduct-overview

    1 case would be more than enough I believe.
    Likes Elizabeth Freer liked this post

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the reply.

    You're welcome.

    I was doing some checking and Petco currently has a 20L for $20. I'll have to get a new lid, but that can be done .

    This sale cannot be beat! Do it!

    I'm not familiar with the Ultratherm yet, will have to do some reading up on this, ty.

    An Ultratherm may never need replacing, unlike those UTHs that have the sticky pad "attached". Stick your Ultratherm underneath the enclosure with electrician's tape rolls throughout, maybe an X across the top, & maybe around the edges.

    When I do upgrade to the 20L, is there a certain wattage CHE I should be looking for, and would just (1) CHE do the trick or are (2) needed ?

    IF your heat pad covers 1/2 the enclosure's floor, that may be all you need. If you add a CHE you'll need a second thermostat, because air and ground temps are different.

    You'll still need a cool end. Even in a 30 x 12 x 12, only a single CHE might be needed in addition to the 11 x 17 Ultratherm.

    Thanks for the referral to the slate tray. I missed that when reading through the guide earlier. Will look into it for sure. I did see there are both the longer trays and the coasters, so will figure out which would fit best. Any concern with the edges of these trays/coasters (are they sharp) ?

    I bought 2 slate cheese trays for my leo's 20 long. The edges are not precise, but NOT sharp. These edges can be sanded or buffed. Since slate is absorbent, it should be stained with a water resistant, low VOC sealant. If you go this route, let me know. There's a quart size sealant Amazon carries.

    The moist hide shown is being replaced with this one:
    https://www.amazon.com/Exo-Terra-Gec...exo+terra+cave

    Maybe this comes down to personal preference. My leo used to have a humid hide similar to the one you link. Typical of usual humid hides, they require frequent misting! After I discovered the OMEM hide, I purchased one last summer. I have never looked back.

    My leo's enclosure sits in a living room corner. I just refill the large "bowl" on top of her OMEM hide after removing the 5.5 inch dome that contains a 15 watt photo period bulb dead center and tilting the lid so it rests against the wall. There's a "science" with terra cotta. Terra cotta "breathes". No more frequent "babysitting" my leo's former humid hide: tilting 20 long top, removing the hide's lid, misting the moss inside, and putting it all back together!

    Should I consider replacing the far left hide with something or is it acceptable ?

    I can't really tell what the far left hide looks like. Please share a close up.

    Thanks again

    You're welcome.
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 01-04-2021 at 05:04 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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    Far left side hide close up.

    left hide.jpg
    Thanks Elizabeth Freer thanked for this post

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccapasso View Post
    Would something like this work for a 20L substrate ?

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/MSI-Hamp...oduct-overview

    1 case would be more than enough I believe.
    Definitely!

    Here's the sealant off Amazon.

    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 01-04-2021 at 04:52 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)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccapasso View Post
    Far left side hide close up.

    left hide.jpg
    I don't know where a leo could really "hide" in this. Can he get inside? Just in the bowl on the top?
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 01-04-2021 at 05:05 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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    Yes. It is hard to see in the pic but there are (2) entrances to it. Right now, Anthem loves to hide in there (prefers it over the warm side at the moment).


    Just found the link:

    PINVNBY Resin Reptile Platform Artificial Tree Trunk Reptile Tank Decor Food Water Dish Bowl for Bearded Dragon,Lizard, Gecko, Water Frog,Snake https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TLL38CF..._-u48FbQFQEK1T
    Thanks Elizabeth Freer thanked for this post

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