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Help Me Decide?

Discussion in 'Help *General*' started by Dracokat, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. Dracokat

    Dracokat Member

    Hi all! New to the forums.

    I am also new to reptiles in general. I used to have Anoles when I was a kid, but, I did not have the proper education on caring for them. I've been doing a lot of reading up on various reptiles and herps.

    So, I have no idea what I'd like to get.. Anoles, a gecko, bearded dragon, a small snake of sorts.. I don't want anything too large. One that can be safely handled (mostly by me, but I have nieces that would want to hold them as well), but also content to be left alone most of the time.

    I won't mind feeding live animals, however, it seems live feeder mice are hard to come by, unless I am not looking in the right stores. Unless a snake will readily eat frozen mice...

    I want to share my plans with you, and hopefully you guys can come up with some suggestions. Depends on what you guys feel is best for my plans below, i will look into proper equipments (lights, heat, etc.). I like frogs, but I am not interested in them.

    For starters, I do not have a cage yet. I am considering a 15 or 20 gallon long glass aquarium (dollar a gallon at some pet stores when it goes up for sale again). I don't think I can go any longer in my planned space, though taller I can probably go.

    I'd love to put real plants inside to make it a more attractive terrarium. I like things to look natural as possible as I can't stand fake stuff (heck, I don't have anything fake in my FW Planted!). I was reading that dirt/sandy bottoms are not a smart idea for most critters.. I won't mind the plants in pots either. Can someone suggest a good bottom for a tank? I'd also like to put in a piece of wood for basking, as well as some climbing rocks.

    My layout would be (picture this..) one side of the tank would be pretty much open, minus a branch for basking. This is where the basking light would be. The dish of water and food would be in this side too. The other side of the tank will be more dense with plants and climbing rocks to offer lots of hiding space. I may create a cave of sorts with the rocks. I will have an under tank heater on this side.

    Plants will depend on which critter is chosen.. Bearded Dragons is more of a desert critter, so I'd go with more desert like plants.

    phew, sorry, I wanted to put as much details and thoughts as I can offer to help get the right critter. Any advice/suggestions??
  2. Dracokat

    Dracokat Member

    looking at the care sheets.. the poison frogs appeal to me. lol. That may be an option.
  3. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, to be honest there`s no way you can house an adult Bearded dragon or other similar sized lizard in a 15 to 20 gallon fishtank, and it would be extremely difficult to create a sufficient temperature and humidity gradient in something that small anyway.
    Feeding live rodents is both cruel and unnecessary (apart from the stress to the prey the very real danger of injury to the predator), in the vast majority of cases snakes will take dead prey.
    Soil/sand substrates are absolutely great for many reptiles (including Bearded dragons).
  4. Dracokat

    Dracokat Member

    how about an Anole or two? they're one of the smaller species, right?
  5. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Yes they are smaller (most of the species at least), I think they require a relatively high humidity which means having a solid top.
    There are also the Geckos, some of which are active during the day, or small skinks.
  6. Dracokat

    Dracokat Member

    hmm hmm hmm. So much to think about! Glad I am researching and getting ideas before I decide to take the plunge.

    I was looking at geckos too. they seem to be more adapted to being handled than Anoles.
  7. Qwerty3159

    Qwerty3159 Elite Member

    Anoles aren't good for handling but are extremely fun to watch if cared for properly. They'll always be hopping and climbing around.

    A leopard gecko would be your best bet for a small, handleable, and easy to care for first reptile.
  8. Helios

    Helios Elite Member

    If you're willing to setup an actual vivarium/do a build that's somewhat arboreal or at least has some height, you have quite a few options with a 20 long. I'm with Murrindindi, geckos or small skinks are a good option and depending on the species very well suited to someone pretty new to the hobby itself.
    If you're interested, setting up a viv is way easier than you might think...
  9. Dracokat

    Dracokat Member

    thanks! I am interested for sure.. A viv would make a more natural environment
  10. arojas7112

    arojas7112 Established Member

    You could try a crested gecko. They eat a fruit diet that you can find already prepared into a powder. All you do is add a little water and feed it to them in a dish every other night. There are plenty of companies that make crested gecko diet so you can experiment with what they like best. You can also feed them crickets or dubia roaches every once a week. They don't require a basking light. Household temperatures are ideal. Anything above 82F starts to cause stress which could put them off food. You can make their environment as natural as you want! They like to have lots of hiding places so they can feel comfortable. They are nocturnal. You do have to spray them heavily about 2 or 3 times a day depending in the area you live in as they require a higher humidity. As babies they are very skittish but once they are older they tolerate human interaction. Once you start to handle them often without over stressing them out, they become less and less skittish. There are so many variations in colors and patterns, I love these little guys and would recommend them in a heart beat!
  11. Dracokat

    Dracokat Member

    thanks! I think I will get a crested gecko. They are adorable!

    They require more of a taller tank, than a longer one, right? Should I get a 20 gal high instead of 20 gal long? Only one gecko I can fit in here, right?
  12. BrownFoundling

    BrownFoundling Established Member

    It will involve some work, but get the 20 long and put it up on end. You can purchase conversion kits or do it yourself to turn the open front into a door with a fixed barrier for the substrate and a screen for ventilation.

    I have a 20 long and a 29 that I am in the process of converting.
  13. Helios

    Helios Elite Member

    I keep my crested in a 18"x18"x24", they do need the height, but like BrownFoundling said you can turn a 20 long on end. You could probably do an 18" cube as well. Cresteds do get pretty big, and mine makes use of the whole space in the larger enclosure.

    As far as setting up a viv goes, you'll want to start with about two inches of false bottom. There are two solid choices. Hydroton, (clay spheres), or any kind of well draining crushed up pumice stone. Over this you'll want to use a barrier layer. A lot of places sell stuff, but it's essentially just landscaping mesh. The next layer you'll want is your substrate. I recommend using ABG blend or something similar. Mixes like that drain well, and contain a more nutrient rich environment to promote plant growth. Leaf litter is generally applied atop that, or spahgnum moss.

    For a crested viv, I recommend taking on doing a great-stuff background and created lots of ledges/using branches throughout. These guys love climbing around just about anywhere in the enclosure.

    As far as plants go, anything with some girth to the leaves is going to be good in that it'll stand up to the weight of the gecko. Of course there are pretty endless options as far as that goes.

    Oh! In a viv you'll want microfauna as well, are you familiar with springtails/isopods?
  14. arojas7112

    arojas7112 Established Member

    Just remember for your plants to use organic soil. Never use soil with pesticides or fertilizers added. When you feed them live insects, you don't want them to accidentally consume chemicals that may harm them. Pothos has always worked for me and my cresties. It's a hardy plant that has wide enough leaves for geckos to rest on. Glad you're getting a crestie!
  15. ExoJoe

    ExoJoe Established Member

    Cresties are an awesome choice. They are super easy to care for and can deal with room temperature depending on the environment. Even though they are considered a"beginner" animal they are an absolute joy to watch and care for. They are some adorable animals.
  16. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    LOL! I often shudder at the term "beginner animal".
    Just because something is relatively easy to keep doesn't mean that they are not enjoyable to keep.
    ExoJoe likes this.
  17. Macaw Mike

    Macaw Mike Member

    Generally, eyelid geckos and the "Rhacos" (crested, gargoyle, etc.) suit as great beginner lizards.

    Leopard geckos don't typically need a lot of space (though don't cram it into a 2-5 gallon tank), but if you don't like insects, then they may not be for you. Crested geckos and gargoyles from what I've heard (planning on getting a crestie soon), also make great pets, though they're arboreal instead of terrestrial. Leachies I've heard make great pets, but don't get one unless you can accommodate space for these large geckos.

    Anoles are fun, but like Qwerty said, they're not pets to handle. They won't like being kept alone either, so try to keep them by a 1 male-2 female ratio.

    Bearded dragons are fun, but if you don't have space for one don't get one. They are, however, quite rewarding.

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