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Leopard Gecko - Eco Earth

Discussion in 'Leopard Geckos' started by Lynne, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. Lynne

    Lynne New Member

    Hey everyone. So, recently I have had trouble with my current substrate, paper towels, and my heating pad (8 watts). My leos are exposed to the heat way too much and the very tips of their tails are burned. I am currently looking into other substrates that I could use to replace the paper towels. Would dry Eco Earth be suitable? Would it allow them to absorb heat from the heating pad but not too much? Would my leos become impacted? I feed them mealworms out of a dish because they are not interested in other insects. Lastly, would the dry Eco Earth be safe for my 4 month-ish old leo?
    If this is a safe substrate, would you mind providing tips on how to maintain it properly?
  2. iRene

    iRene Elite Member

    How are you controlling your temperatures? Heat mats need thermostats in order to be used safely. How hot is the surface getting? I use ceramic tile and the surface temperature is usually around 105F.

    I do not think dry eco earth is a good substrate. It can be very dusty and that is more of an issue than small amounts being injested. I have tried several different substrates and I like ceramic tile the best. If your heat mat is being properly controlled your gecko should not be getting burns even on paper towel.
  3. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Eco earth is best used moist for higher humidity animals. You can put a piece of slate tile over the heat pad to help distribute the heat more evenly, but what Irene said cannot be stressed enough. You absolutely need a thermostat or at least a rheostat to control any heating device. Otherwise you are just asking for an injured animal.
  4. Lynne

    Lynne New Member

    Thank you for getting back to me. The Eco Earth that I would use would be the bricks. I would soak them if water until they expand and the bits are smaller when soaked rather than when dry. Then I would wait a few days until it dries out completely and introduce it to my geckos.

    About the thermostat. I have never experienced a problem like this with any of my other geckos, and they all use the exact same heating mat. If I replaced this heating mat with one that has an adjustable temperature, would that be okay? Also, they are available in 5, 15, and 25 watts. Which one would you suggest? Right now I have 8-watt mats.

    Lastly, ceramic tile. I have heard that the heat mat, when placed on the bottom of the tank, cannot transfer its heat through the tile. Is this true? Also, would you have any tips for how to maintain it properly? Thanks so much
  5. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    First, the problem with eco-earth is when it dries out is when it becomes dusty and problematic. And as the animals move around the problem gets worse.
    Second, I have never seen a mat with any sort of adjustability to it, unless they are making some with a built in dimmer, which I wouldn't trust anymore then an unregulated mat. And just because you have gotten away with it before doesn't mean you will continue being lucky. Even if the mats in question don't currently have any hotspots, they can have failures which will cause them, and you would never know until a pet got burned. A thermostat is cheap insurance, especially when compared to the vet bills that might be incurred treating a burned reptile.
    Third, you are getting some bad info from somewhere, as the eco-earth is actually much less efficient than tile at transferring heat. In fact it acts as an insulator, causing more heat to build up, which can lead to burns when the pet inevitably digs down into it. The tile will also help to even out any hotspots.
  6. iRene

    iRene Elite Member

    I have never used a heat mat without a thermostat. I am using some gardening thermostats I bought online. They cost about $20 each. They are simple to use and set. I live in a climate where I can run a heat mat all day and night during the winter and not need it much at all during the summer. Having the thermoatat lets me worry not about whether the temperature is right for my house heating and current weather. I think the mats you have would be just fine with a thermostat. I would not recommend using a higher wattage at all. That just means more unregulated heat.

    I think someone has misinformed you about tile. It transfers heat very smoothly. Mine is pleasantly warm to the touch at 105F. I am using plain ceramic floor tiles. Many flooring stores and some hardware stores will have open boxes and sell you only a small number of tiles to line a tank. It is incredibly easy to maintain. I can wipe it clean with a damp paper towel. It can even be run through a dishwasher or wiped with bleach and rinsed thoroughly to be sanitized. Tile is one of the easiest to maintain substates I have ever used.

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