Heat mat not creating enough warmth, suggestions needed

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Sunset

New member
Hello! We got a leopard gecko 2 weeks ago, she's 6 months old. Unfortunately, the Flukers heating mat is not getting warm side warmer than 85 degrees. I have it connected to a thermostat set at 90F but it doesn't seem to raise the temp enough.

So, I have a ceramic heat lamp above the tank (I have it raised far above the tank as to not create to much "basking" heat. Do you think this is ok?

I'd be grateful for thoughts and guidance. Thank you!

Sasha
 

JessJohnson87

New member
What type of substrate are you using?
Do you have the probe to the thermostat taped down to the floor of the tank?

My flukers does great as far as heating is concerned.
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Hi Sasha ~

Welcome aboard!

Perhaps the Flukers heat mat is defective?

Also
  • What is the room temp where the viv sits?
  • Have you a probe from a separate digital thermometer taped to the thermostat's probe to verify the thermostat's readout? The yellow Zoo Med digital thermometer is good if you need one.
  • Viv size?
  • Heat mat dimensions?
 
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Sunset

New member
Thanks for the responses!

I'm using a thin reptile carpet as a substrate. I'm using the thermostat's probe, so, as per Elizabeth's suggestion, I'll add a separate probe thermometer (I have the Zoo Med one) to see if I get another number.

Yes, the probe is resting on the ground. Tank is 20 gallons.

I do think the Fluker heating mat (11x17) is working given that it feels hot to the touch. Perhaps it's because there's space between the mat and the tank?

It's a warm day here in NY so the fluker mat is getting the temp up to 88F on it's own, so I think that's good enough.

My main question: On colder days when heating mat alone is getting it only up to 84/85F, should I supplement with ceramic lamp? I'm just concerned that the lamp is not good for her as they're not basking animals.

Thank you!
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Thanks for the responses!

I'm using a thin reptile carpet as a substrate. I'm using the thermostat's probe, so, as per Elizabeth's suggestion, I'll add a separate probe thermometer (I have the Zoo Med one) to see if I get another number.

Yes, the probe is resting on the ground. Tank is 20 gallons.

I do think the Fluker heating mat (11x17) is working given that it feels hot to the touch. Perhaps it's because there's space between the mat and the tank?

It's a warm day here in NY so the fluker mat is getting the temp up to 88F on it's own, so I think that's good enough.

My main question: On colder days when heating mat alone is getting it only up to 84/85F, should I supplement with ceramic lamp? I'm just concerned that the lamp is not good for her as they're not basking animals.

Thank you!

You're welcome. :)

20 L?

Is your Fluker's 11 x 17 stuck onto the glass underneath the 20 gallon? Regular aluminum tape is good for that.

A heat mat that size in a 20 gallon long should be enough to get adequate ground temps: 88-92. I feel that warm air overhead is a plus. A ceramic heat emitter in a 10 inch diameter dome sitting right on the screen will be fine as long as the temps 4 inches above ground stay about 82F. To adjust that a rheostat/dimmer can be used. Home Depot sells the Lutron brand I use. Some folks use a second thermostat for overhead heat.

Here's a temperature guide for all leopard geckos as measured by the probe of a digital thermometer
  • 88-92 F (31.1-33.3 C) ground temperature right underneath a leo's warm dry hide
  • no greater than 82ish F (27.8ish C) air temperature - 4 inches above ground on the warm end
  • no greater than 75 F (23.9 C) air temperature - 4 inches above ground on the cool end
 
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JessJohnson87

New member
I would put some tape on the heat mat to stick it to the bottom of the tank, the air pocket between the heat mat and tank will put a damper on it heating properly. I just stuck a couple of pieces of tile between the heat pad and the shelf to my rack to sandwich it against the tank. I have heard Styrofoam works to.

Yes you can use the CHE to supplement the air temperatures but trying to use it to heat the floor will make the air temperatures really high and could cause the gecko to dehydrate quicker.
 

CWilson13

New member
I have Flukers 11" x 17" UTHs for each of my Leos and have them taped directly to the tank as Jess and Elizabeth suggested. Mine work fine, though it is possible yours is defective. Be sure to keep at least a 1/2in of air space between the heat mat and the surface your tank rests on. This allows air flow and helps with the tank staying warm. It also helps prevent overheating and fire risk if your tank sits on wood or other flammable surfaces.
 

Aimless

Super Moderator
what's the wattage? some heat mats have variable wattage; regardless of actual size you may need one that's more powerful?
 

Dragonemperess

New member
I am having the same problem. I am using a Fluker’s Small Premium heat mat on a 10gal. I wasn’t aware of it needing tape till I read the instructions. I planned on using a zoomed for 10 gal, but they ran out at the pet store that I usually get pet stuff from. So I thought that it was adhesive too. Lesson learned.
After having a day to recover, I went to get packing tape. I was desperate, there was a Gecko that I wanted to rescue. I put the tape on it as soon as I got home. It’s been more than 48 hours and the temperature hasn’t stabilized. It goes between 84f (like right now at 6pm) and 88f (one time it was 90f at night for some reason). I realized at that point that a Gecko wouldn’t be happy or healthy at those temps. I also realized that if the people in the pet store didn’t take care of its stuck shedding that it’s likely dead now. So thats another I may have failed. But it also might be alive, maybe they listened to my concern. So I would appreciate any tips on getting the heat mat to heat up more.
I have a Jumpstart Thermostat that I got from the same place I got the heat mat, at a reptile store. They costed a lot (65%), but I don’t order stuff online, so I have to accept the cost of that. The probe reads at 84.7f. The zoomed digital thermometer says 82.0f. They are tapped together in the warm side in the middle. I am using Zilla reptile carpet. My plan was to use tile eventually with the rep carp as a cushion. Thats definitely out now. I am using a glass tank that I got from a Petco with the dollar per gallon sale. I need to get a warm hide and buggies, but other than the heat problem, I think I got my tank and supplements mostly set up.
Do you guys think I should open my own thread instead? I realize that I am a little too verbose for my own good at times and I feel like I am hijacking the thread. I am sorry If I am being annoying. But the sticky post said to look for other similar threads so that the forum doesn’t get cluttered.
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Hi Dragonemperess ~

Welcome to Geckos Unlimited!

This is very important! I do wish to caution you. A leopard gecko should not live his whole life in a 10 gallon cage. It is just too small. There is NO room for him to exercise. Can your dad help bring a 20 gallon long tank into your place for your future leo? That's 30 x 12 x 12 inches. That's really the minimum you need. Leos can live a long time. I recently heard of one female leopard gecko who is 32 years old.

Once the tank is set up, you won't need to carry it around.

The heat mat should go on one end of the tank...the warm end. You want the heat mat attached as "flat" as possible underneath the vivarium. Otherwise you could have air pockets.

Like this:

20150831_220607.jpg

Have you plugged your heat mat into your Jump Start thermostat and then plugged the thermostat into the wall? The thermostat's job is to keep the heat mat's temps within a suitable range: 88-92*F.

Next time use aluminum tape, not packing tape, to stick the Fluker's to the base of the tank. Just the regular aluminum tape you can buy at a hardware store like Ace's. Otherwise you could end up with a sticky mess!

Have you checked out all the posts above?
 
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Dragonemperess

New member
I realize that. I want to start off with a smaller gecko and then get a 20 long for it as it gets bigger. I saw a leo strolling around happily in his 20 long tank at a reptile store and I want that for my little buddy too. I have had my eyes on that medium low Exo-terra terrarium for a while. I don’t want to ask my dad since he is already stressed enough as is. He has issues with his blood pressure and I would like to let him have as much rest as he can. So I wanna see if I can hopefully get a larger grocery cart to carry it in. Of course I would need a bigger table since the 10gal takes up nearly all of the space on this table. Maybe I can somehow bring a thing of wood from home depot to expand the surface of the table? Even with the 10gal actually planned on turning a storage container into a place with all sorts of thing for it to explore and experience.

The thermostat is plugged into a multi-outlet surge breaker (at least I hope it is) since the cord can’t reach the plug. I plugged the mat into the Thermostat, set it to 93 (has never reached that point) and used the packing tape to tape it as flat as I could. Maybe I failed to make it all the way flat. I will be extra careful when I replace the tape with aluminum tape to make it flatter. I shall endeavor to get aluminum tape as soon as i can! I don’t get why they just didn’t say aluminum tape in the instructions.

I am starting to realize that this (room) apartment is way to small when a 10 gallon tank with a table takes up so much space. Do you think I can even keep a leopard gecko? I am on a very low income and the apartment isn’t that big, so its quite cluttered. I guess thats why it took me a while to realize that a gecko would need more space than 10 gal. I can’t really move around in my room myself. XD I would get a few stuff for it every month, but it would cut deeply into my income. But I don’t mind, a friend is worth it. You give your all for those that depend on you.

I plan on putting aside 50$ a month for vet stuff bills when(if) I get it. Logic tells me that I would love them way more than the pet store, but I don’t want them to suffer. Should I give up on getting a leo and hope that they go to loving owners? As lonely as I am, I don’t think I can handle it if they died because of my inadequacies. I can live with the loneliness in that case.
I read the posts above, I was just wondering if it was something I did.
Sorry about the chattiness and psyche issues. I am an odd duck. XD
 

Dragonemperess

New member
I went out and got some foil tape. Now I am 95% sure that is all the way against the glass. There is the part with the cord, but there is nothing I can do about that. I made sure to unplug it this afternoon to let it cool. I have formed a hypothesis that there is a chance that the substrate (reptile carpet, its still curly) may have not had enough contact with the glass to heat up all of the way. I shall run the mat and place the probe on the glass without the carpet and see the results in a few days (If I remember to) if it still doesn’t heat up enough. Hopefully if that is the case, then it actually is the carpet and not the heat mat. That will be way easier to replace with something like paper towel.
 

Dragonemperess

New member
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANKYOU!!! The Thermostat actually went up to 93f and turned off the heating. But now the temp is plummeting. Hopefully it can turn itself back on when needed, or I will never sleep again unless I wanna wake up to a gecko popsicle. It turned itself back on at 90. I’ll have to get used to the clicks but I got used to Coro’s motor so this shouldn’t be that much of a problem. Habituation is quite useful. The temp is still dropping, currently at 89.6, but guess it just needs a bit. Thank you soooo much! Yup, 89.7. I wanna help others too.
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANKYOU!!! The Thermostat actually went up to 93f and turned off the heating. But now the temp is plummeting. Hopefully it can turn itself back on when needed, or I will never sleep again unless I wanna wake up to a gecko popsicle. It turned itself back on at 90. I’ll have to get used to the clicks but I got used to Coro’s motor so this shouldn’t be that much of a problem. Habituation is quite useful. The temp is still dropping, currently at 89.6, but guess it just needs a bit. Thank you soooo much! Yup, 89.7. I wanna help others too.
You are very welcome. I understand now that a 10 gallon home for your leo is just temporary. I can tell that you'll be a loving, caring, leo mom. :)

:yahoo: That's exactly how the thermostat is supposed to "behave"! :biggrin: Tape both probes together. Place them underneath the warm dry hide right on the ground on top of the substrate (not on the glass directly above the UTH) where your leo will hang out. That's the best place to measure the warm end ground temp.

What temp is your room during the day and at night?

Here's a temperature guide for all leopard geckos as measured by the probe of a digital thermometer
  • 88-92 F (31.1-33.3 C) ground temperature right underneath a leo's warm dry hide
  • no greater than 82ish F (27.8ish C) air temperature - 4 inches above ground on the warm end
  • no greater than 75 F (23.9 C) air temperature - 4 inches above ground on the cool end
Leave your Under Tank Heat Mat on 24/7. Turn off overhead lighting/heating at night (~12 hours on & ~12 hours off) unless ambient room temperatures drop lower than 67ish*F (19.4*C) during the night.

An Exo Terra 36 x 18 x 18 inch enclosure is perfect for one leopard gecko. Check out National Geographic vivariums too.
 
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Dragonemperess

New member
Yup, the two probes are taped together and placed in the hubba hide log. Should I be worried about splinters with those things? I understand that they need a rough surface for shedding, but splinters suck, as I know from plenty of personal experience.
Our apartment is a “you get what you pay for” type. The temperatures fluctuate wildly and we don’t have a working thermostat, ac, or heater. I’m actually a little envious of my future little buddy.
Thanks for the tip about steamer trunks. It made me realize that it doesn’t have to be a table. I wonder if a giant durable plastic storage container from home depot will work. Or milk crates. I’m sure I will find something by then.
Found the edit button. What do you think about this for a “table” Rubbermaid 54 gal. 42-1/2 in. x 21-1/2 in. x 18-3/5 in. Hi-Top Storage Tote-FG3A05H2MICBL - The Home Depot I’d definitely test it first. The reviews sat the top is prone to cracking, so maybe if I flip it upside down or fill it with milk crates... Or maybe just use plastic milk crates by themselves. They worked as a bed for me when I was little, so they should definitely be fine as a table. Two layers for height and four for width and length. Thats eight that I can get from home depot. Or maybe I can dabble in Ikea? Starting to think that I may need more time to better prepare before I get one. Poor babies :(. Hopefully they get good homes.
 
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Dragonemperess

New member
Huzzah! I have an idea! Two smaller plastic totes so that the weight is distributed between them! Why i it that the obvious always escapes me? Also, we can use the containers for when we finally move out of these stupid apartments one day! :yahoo: Also, gonna lower thermostat by 1f.
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
2 March 2024 update:
An under tank heat mat is now old school for a leopard gecko. Formerly the 11" x 17" Ultratherm brand heat mat seemed to provide acceptable heat for a 20 long enclosure ----> 30" x 12" x 12"!

Currently the recommended heat method = a halogen bulb overhead that sits next to a linear UVB tube that's one third to one half the enclosure's length. Depending upon your enclosure's length & how much above your leo it is, Arcadia's 12 inch long linear Shade Dweller tube might provide ideal UVB. A substrate 4-6 inches deep of 70% topsoil (fertilizer-free & chemical-free) mixed with 30% play sand is recommended for a leopard gecko.

Even 36 x 18 x 18 inch enclosures are deemed too small for a leopard gecko by some people. Now some folks are using huge inside tents for one leopard gecko with remarkable results. Please check out Facebook group's InTents Pets.
 
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