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Please Help! Sick AFT Gecko

Discussion in 'African Fat-tailed Geckos' started by aftmama, May 13, 2013.

  1. aftmama

    aftmama New Member

    I have an African Fat Tailed Gecko. He is one year old and has always been very healthy. He lives in a 10 gallon tank, with eco-bark as his substrate. Temperature in his cage is 85 in the day and 75 at night. I have a thermometer inside his cage. I have a humidity gauge inside too and it's usually about 80%. He has always been a good eater, I have recently switched to feeding him larger crickets that he really loves and seems to have no problems eating. I have recently moved and have started going to anew pet shop to buy his food where they dust his crickets. His crickets have never been dusted before. He is very active, his eyes are clear and his tail is nice and fat. But today I noticed a white deposit on his snout. He shed yesterday so I originally thought it was just a bit of extra skin but it looks like more than that. After doing some research I discovered that this new pet store put way too much calcium on his crickets (they were almost totally white with powder) and I'm now really worried that my poor gecko (Manolo) has overdosed on Calcium. I'm so worried and I don't know what to do. Is there anything I can do to help Manolo?
  2. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Can you ask them to stop putting calcium powder on your crickets?
  3. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    I'm not sure I'm entirely following here, but I'll give it a shot.

    Standard practice for offering calcium to AFTs and Leopard Geckos is to gutload all prey, preferably with calcium-rich foods, and then dust the prey with calcium with D3 every other feeding for hatchlings-juveniles, and about 1-2 times a week for adults. Prey should then be dusted with a multivitamin powder once a week for both.

    As well, a bowl of plain calcium (without D3) should be left in your gecko's enclosure at all times.

    If you haven't been dusting your prey at all before, then you certainly are NOT at risk of overdosing your gecko with pet store dusted crickets. If anything, your gecko may be slightly calcium-deficient or D3-deficient because of your practices.

    If you have been dusting, you still won't have anything to worry about. There's only so much powder a cricket can have on it before it falls off naturally, and having a cricket completely covered is ideal. Keep in mind you're attempting to offset the higher phosphorus-calcium ratio of crickets, hence why we dust in the first place.

    It would take a LOT of calcium over a long period of time to even come close to causing issues. I've never even heard of a case of calcium overdose in AFTs or Leopard Geckos, and this comes from speaking and dealing with many breeders and keepers over several years. It simply won't happen with standard dusting practices, and even going over or under the allotted amount temporarily won't make a difference.

    Now something with your husbandry and care that MAY cause issues in the future is your choice of substrate. Repti/Eco-bark is one of the worst substrates you can use because it poses a higher impaction risk as well as skin and eye irritation issues. If you're looking for a natural substrate, try sphagnum moss instead. It holds in humidity plus has a much lower risk of health issues.

    And for measuring temperatures...are you using analog controls? Because these are notorious for being inaccurate. You'll want to invest in a digital thermometer with a probe to ensure your temps are where they should be.

    I would also recommend upgrading your gecko to a 20 gal or 20 gal long tank. A 10 gal is just much too small for a gecko of that age to allow for space to move around plus accomodate all the bowls, hides, etc. that are required as well as providing a proper temperature gradient.

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