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Leopard Gecko Enclosure Change

Discussion in 'Leopard Geckos' started by LaurenRoxsU, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. LaurenRoxsU

    LaurenRoxsU Active Member

    Multiple things here. I'm moving from a 20 gallon (not long), to an Exo-Terra 36x18x18. I have the accompanying Compact Top light fixture and have 2 40W incandescents and one 26W CFL. Quite a big change for him. My current overall temp is 75-76 and I want it to be 85-90.
    First- Undertank heater, I have one that doesn't perma-attach but it's really a pain to apply. I also have a Zoo Med Repti-Therm UTH unopened and want opinions on brands and effectiveness of UTH.
    Second- Can I put one of my old incandescents (either 100W Night or 75W Day) in the remaining light socket to raise the temp? I hate to buy another CFL when I have two working lights.
    Third- I know I need a thermostat for at least the heat mat if not the lights. Also a timer because I'm going on vacation in a month for seven days. Brands and names, prices please? :) I'd like to not spend 100 bucks on one but it seems the proportional ones are about that. Is that necessary?
    I bought little rubber feet (technically rubber doorknob stoppers) to raise the bottom of the tank because my substrate is sand and I don't want to thermal block the UTH. Will that allow the heat to flow enough so I can have the sand thicker than 1/2 inch?
    Fourth- Where do people get all those awsm plants that look so real?! I can't find anything but those dinky little suction cup plants-in-bag stuff they sell at Petco.
    And last- Yes I know sand can cause impaction. I have the play sand washed and sifted which is the least-dangerous. They don't make reptile carpet in wonky in between sizes and he seems to love the sand even more. I have seen him lick it a couple times but both his poops since then have had minimal if none sand included. I'm very vigilant and watching for signs, it helps that I'm over-paranoid too :) What about that "Desert Sand" stuff? Is it really just desert sand, or another name for that dreaded Calci-Sand?
    Anymore details you need to know, just ask!
     
  2. missabrat

    missabrat Elite Member

    You already know sand can cause impaction, and you say that he licks it and his feces shows some signs of sand, why put him at risk?????
    Repti carpet can be cut to size, so can paper towels, etc.

    For the plants I usually look in my local higher end fish store, or even craft stores.
     
  3. LaurenRoxsU

    LaurenRoxsU Active Member

    He licked it twice and I misted him and he didn't do it again. His feces showed minimal to no sand. Which is quite different than "some sand". If the little sand he ingested is passing through, (because it's not the clumping Repti-Sand kind) is that not a good thing? Besides the point that you didn't answer any of my questions originally posted :(
     
  4. LaurenRoxsU

    LaurenRoxsU Active Member

    Please more people reply :( I really want opinions from real people who have reptiles. Petsmart and Petco employees aren't the most knowledgable folks...
     
  5. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    First of all, welcome.

    You have seen some sand in the feces, have you had an x-ray done on the leo to see how much stayed in his gut? It can build up in their gut over time. Sorry to seem harsh, but people are telling you not to use sand and your insisting you are going to use it. When people see that, chances are they won't bother posting their advice to someone who appears to not be listening.

    Some people believe that 36" is too large an enclosure for a leo, and that 24" provides plenty of room for them

    You say you are going on vacation for 7 days, is someone looking after the leo for you? Your post implies that you will be setting a timer and just leaving it. Apart from needing food, there are plenty of things that can go wrong unless someone is there to monitor things.

    Try looking in a craft shop like Michaels for silk plants.

    You don't need any special lighting, the leo needs belly heat, hence the heat pads. Lighting is just for providing a day/night cycle and to assist with creating the temperature gradient. You just need a common or garden incandescent bulb of sufficient wattage, which will depend a lot on the ambient temperature of the room the enclosure is in.

    The rubber feet have nothing to do with heat penetration, they are to allow airflow underneath the pad and to prevent it from overheating and becoming a fire hazard.
     
  6. LaurenRoxsU

    LaurenRoxsU Active Member

    Thanks for the welcome :) And no I'm really not opposed to using another substrate at all. I have not had him x-rayed and to be honest, I'm paranoid every second he's on the sand as where the reptile carpet, it was easy to clean, easy to put in and out, and easy to use. But they only make 20,30,40 gallon type sizes. I was really interested in the tile that everyone keeps talking about with the sand underneath unaccessible to Rainbow (my Leo). But I don't quite understand how it works and how it fits.
    I sort of already bought a 36x18x18/light lol so hopefully it won't be too big. He seemed to have fun in it when I was feeding him briefly. He just chased his reflection everywhere really fast :D
    And nooo, I definitely didn't mean leaving him for seven days unattended. Probably two days at a time? My thing is that my sister has a newborn, my grandmother will be in Hawaii and I don't have anyone that would come over every day. I'm super worried about leaving him even with a thermostat or timer for more than a day. But it's just not possible for someone to come check in every day. Are there reptile sitters? (I am being serious lol)
    I didn't mean for it to sound as if I wasn't open to opinions. Sorry if it seemed that way, but I really do want opinions who have reptiles and lots know way more about them than me. Thanks for letting me know I sounded like I wasn't open to listening, I'll try to be better with that. And the craft store plants, are they safe? People say using rocks from outside is bad, I suppose controlled plants are different than random back yard flowers.
    Anyone who can help me with the tile idea, or any other idea please do! :D My main thing is it being aesthetically attractive but putting his health/safety before that. Both would be the ideal combination :p
     
  7. LaurenRoxsU

    LaurenRoxsU Active Member

  8. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    I use slate tiles in my bearded dragon enclosure. There's a picture here and a description of how I used them. If you need more clarification let me know. http://www.herpcenter.com/bearded-dragons/33037-bernie-settling-3.html#post316693
    The silk plants from craft shops should be safe, it's not like he's going to try and eat them.
    Rocks from outside are ok as long as you sterilise them. Scrub them clean, then boil some water and put them in it, let it cool and they should be good to go. Just pick your rocks carefully, try and get ones that are flat (or fairly flat) on one side, you don't want crickets hiding under them.
     
  9. missabrat

    missabrat Elite Member

    Sorry, but my brain was not functioning enough to give lighting advice, it has been a long day doing homework for me LOL :eek:

    Rainbow is adorable, but can I ask why you have the netting in his dish? in that small of a dish he would be fine without something underneath him, mine loves to soak when she is getting ready to shed, prefers her water dish over a moist hide...she's a fruit! LOL

    I use all kinds of things from craft stores as cage furniture, silk plants, odd shaped bowls, I even found a hollow ceramic mushroom house decoration that I sanded, and will be painting this week, should make for a great hide for someone!

    I get all of my rocks/ branches/logs from outside as long as they are scrubbed down, I soak in a 10-1 water-bleach mix and let dry for before using them (wood items must dry thoroughly!)

    If you do go on vacation you really should see about someone checking on him daily, if not maybe you can move his enclosure to their home for the time that you will be gone. I reptile sit for my friend when he goes off to vacation, sometimes a week or two at a time, and he has 40 animals LOL
     
  10. LaurenRoxsU

    LaurenRoxsU Active Member

    Hehe thanks :) He's got a little personality on him <3 Oh that's not his regular water dish lol. That's his bath dish post-shed because he never gets it off his feet all the way. He hates when his head touches the edges and for some reason he likes the net in there so there's something between him and the water.
    I must have a semi-defective Leopard Gecko, he hates baths sincerely. I tried the human heating pad last night before I was going to purchase a reptile one, he automatically sank down in it to where his whole belly is flush with it. And today, he's been on it on my bed for nearly six hours now haha. Of course with a cool place he can go, a towel with another hide. He's alternated but I really never thought a heat pad was that important.
    Definitely is for him, he's been on it nonstop! Any more advice will be appreciated, and I will look at the slate tiles. Thanks for everyone's so far :)
     
  11. LaurenRoxsU

    LaurenRoxsU Active Member

    So do they have to be slate tiles or any tiles? Do you glue them or put sand down first then fill it over with tiles so the sand isn't accessible? Can you cut to fit fairly easily? What glue can I use if glue is needed?
    How much would a 36x18x18 be estimate? I really want to know if I can use my 100 W or 75 W incandescent in the Exo-Terra Compact Top before I purchase a regular CFL. I hate to just waste the light ya know?
    Wouldn't the tiles get pretty cold? Or do they fluctuate heat pretty well? I know someone else that did that but it was also for Bearded Dragons so I don't know anyone who's done it for a Leo
    "Dankshu Mommy, for my heating pad!"
    http://img3.imageshack.us/i/p1000669rl.jpg
    http://img858.imageshack.us/i/p1000680.jpg
     
  12. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    He would love the tiles, slate or ceramic, they hold the heat very well! And can be cut to desired size plus you can buy the ones that are on sale so are real cheap!
    Sand is harder for them to walk on for good footing plus crickets can hide, and not to mention the bacteria that is in there! I'm not a carpet fan either for that reason. Paper towel also works well, just change as needed.
    For the under the tank heater, it always good to attach it to a thermostat and set it at the desired temperature like 90 and it will not go over that temp or under that temp. You already know that!
    This is the one I have!
    ReptiTemp 500R

    Do you have a moist hide for your little cutie?
    Your new tank sounds wonderful lots of room to roam around! Do you have a picture of the whole thing and we can give you some ideas of what might be needed.
     
  13. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Cute little one you have
     
  14. LaurenRoxsU

    LaurenRoxsU Active Member

    Hahaha crickets, that's a good one! He's waaay too lazy/uncoordinated to hunt crickets. We honestly calculated it was 3 weeks he went without eating. So before trying to force feed I gave him worms, tah dah! I have to put them right in front of his face and he'll get frustrated and walk away when he misses the worm 3+ times. I am starting to make him work for them and walk to pounce on them.
    And yes I can most definitely get a pic of the cage. So aside from reptile carpet, (I just bought two and changed them weekly) sand was the better bet than bark or tiles. Because I didn't get how the tiles worked, but it kind of makes sense. I do not have a moist hide for him except when he's shedding.
    Lord knows I have enough furniture to make one, he's not a fan of moss though. I made him a green box with a hole cut out and a paper towel I misted and he loved that so much he never ever came out of it. So I had to take it out after a few days lol so he'd move!
    Right now he's lounged out on the heat mat. I put him back in his cage and he just gets really restless and then goes and gets on the hammock, stares pointedly at me until I pick him back up and return him to the belly heat. It's only on level 4 but it's registering 110F. I don't think that's accurate though even though I'm keeping it on there 24/7 because it doesn't feel that hot at allll. Though I'm frequently checking him for signs of burns, but he gets up periodically and goes off on the towel when he's not on the heating pad. The brand is Fluker's digital therm/humidity. I want to get the Exo-Terra Therm/humidity one that slides in the canopy since it has a probe.
     
  15. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    Slate tiles are best because they are textured so that the animal can get traction. Their natural colour probably most resembles that which would be found in the leopard geckos natural habitat. I suppose sandstone would also be appropriate if you can find tiles made out of that.

    I've just done my beardies new, larger cage, and I didn't need to use any sand (although I might do to seal a few cracks between tiles and the edges of the enclosure)l. If you read the post I linked you to, you will remember that I used three different sizes of small tile. This time I have used 12" tiles and their were no holes I had to fill in with sand, you can also get 16" tiles.

    The only reason you might want to glue them is if you are making structures, like hides, or raised basking areas to vary the landscape, Gluing them together would prevent them from moving and potentially hurting the lizard. Gluing the substrate tiles would make them harder to remove for cleaning.

    Get more tiles than you need, chances are that they won't fit exactly. A 2' wide cage (for example) is 2' on the outside, not the inside, so two 12" tiles won't fit exactly,the same would go for the length. Break some of the extra tiles you have and use the pieces to go underneath one tile so that you can overlap them. It's relatively easy to cut the tiles with the right tool, but I prefer the overlaps because they create more of a 'landscape' with the different levels. The different levels can also come in useful because you can (for example) wedge a tile diagonally to make a hide, or in the case of climbers like a beardie, wedge branches so that they don't move. If you have a narrower tank, you'll have bigger overlaps, in a way that's good because you will have better stability.

    You'll have the same problem lengthwise, but you can't just overlap them because you've already done that widthwise. It takes a bit of playing around, but you can use smaller tiles or pieces of the broken tiles to work it out. It's a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, you just have to play with the pieces to get them to fit. If you use some of the broken pieces, beware of sharp edges, they cut through skin easily. You don't need a special tool to smooth the edges, I used a palm sized pebble and just rubbed it against the sharp edges. If you get the tile wet first, it's a bit easier.

    Sorry about being longwinded, just trying to make it as clear as I can for you. :)
     
  16. LaurenRoxsU

    LaurenRoxsU Active Member

    Hehe thanks, he is pretty cute :) I'm really excited about his new cage, been waiting for it for a long time!
    Cage VV ImageShack® - Online Photo and Video Hosting

    Any suggestions would be appreciated, go wild! I want to make his new cage pretttty epic :)

    PS, I'd been looking at that Zoo Med one! I really didn't know if it was necessary to have the proportional digital whatchahoozits that costs 100+ bucks.
     
  17. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    This is the one I use!
    Exo Terra Digital Thermometer With Probe
     
  18. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Very nice looking enclosure, I have 2 of the exo-terra enclosures but the only thing that I didn't like is the foam backgrounds I just took them out, I found that the crickets, mealworms, superworms would just hide behind it and climbing up and hiding on the top ledge of the foam. You could always get some of that aquarium background, and tape it on the sides and back, it would make him feel more secure and they make some really nice desert ones now.
     
  19. LaurenRoxsU

    LaurenRoxsU Active Member

    Oh goodness so many answers! Well, I really don't think it's that hot (110) It's showing my bedbuddy as 110 also and it's like, 10xs hotter than the heat pad atm. Also the heat pad material is really thick so the heat may not be dispersing as much. But it really barely feels warm to the touch. It would have to be hot feeling to be 110 right? Idk, it just doesn't feel that warm to me...
    I do not know anyone with a tile cutter lol but I might just have to stagger them. I have OCD when it comes to things looking perfect so that'll be hard to get it just right :( For right now to get him off sand since everything is closed for the time being, can I put the heat pad in his cage on one side and the towel on the other and 1-2 hides on each? I just will keep the thermometer on it all the time. It's a digital one with stick pads on the back but I never took the tape covering off and just set it to get a spot temp.
    I just get pretty anxious with him on the sand. I'm always thinking about it and with the reptile carpet, I just wasn't as stressed about it. And I dunno if he can see well, I don't really know how to check, honestly.
     
  20. LaurenRoxsU

    LaurenRoxsU Active Member

    And I'm trying to human heat pad for a kind of trial run before I drop money on a thermostat and reptile heat mat. So I WILL have a thermostat but not yet :(
     

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