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Setting up mini enclosures

Discussion in 'Gecko Enclosures' started by TeacherWithAGecko, Aug 27, 2018.

  1. TeacherWithAGecko

    TeacherWithAGecko Gecko Egg

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    Hello, all! I will soon be getting a baby Leopard Gecko for my classroom. I have two tanks to set up.

    One tank is a 20L critter cage. We have a Reptitherm UTH, dimmabke daylamp with day/night timer, food and water dishes, and still need to get the hides. This is all for the classroom and was paid for with a grant.

    We also have a 10 gallon tank that we would like to set up at home for initial acclimation and for home care during school breaks. This is NOT covered under the grant and will be out of pocket. As such, the at-home tank needs to be economical, and we can probably use some of the items at both home and school.

    - would a rock heater work for the time he is at home?
    - is the UTH and the lamp too much for a baby?
    - as winter approaches and days shorten, do we need to set the light cycle to a specific length?
    - do I need to have an expensive thermometer in both places? This one looks potentially portable.

    That's all I have for now. I'd like to get set up to get the gecko by early September, so any feedback is appreciated. [​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
  2. TeacherWithAGecko

    TeacherWithAGecko Gecko Egg

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    Additionally...what are the RIGHT daytime and nighttime temperature ranges for a baby leopard gecko? I see all kinds of ranges online.

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  3. TeacherWithAGecko

    TeacherWithAGecko Gecko Egg

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    Getting set up, basically going to try to maintain the right environment before I get the gecko.[​IMG][​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
  4. acpart

    acpart Gecko Grandparent 3 Year Member

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    Don't use a rock heater; it can burn the gecko. If there is ambient daylight in the place where the gecko will be, you don't need lights at all, which means you don't have to worry about the light cycle. I think an under tank heater and heat lamp are overkill and can dehydrate the gecko. The thermometer is definitely portable. You are, however, going to need a thermostat, especially with the 10 gallon. Look at Zilla or ESU brand which is under $30. The thermostat can go back and forth as well. Floor temperatures for all leopard geckos should be in the low 90's on the hot side and less than that (depending on the season) on the cool side. As long as I can achieve the hot side floor temperatures (with a thermostat) I honestly don't worry about any other temperatures assuming that the building maintains a temperature that's comfortable for humans. In the summer, since I have no AC, my living room can get up in the 90's and in the winter it can be in the mid 60's. If it's really hot out the geckos hang out on the cool side. If it's cold, they stay inside their warm hides which trap air so the ambient temperature in there is warmer.

    Aliza
  5. TeacherWithAGecko

    TeacherWithAGecko Gecko Egg

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    I live in the PNW and we have decent variation in day length over the year. I would imagine a consistent day night cycle would be better?
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  6. Keanne

    Keanne Gecko Egg

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    Don’t use a heat lamp because leopard geckos eyes are sensitive especially albino leopard geckos just use a heat pad for the baby gecko and I would recommend using a plastic container or a Zoo Med Reptile Shelter 3 in 1 Cave, Small for the moist hide
  7. acpart

    acpart Gecko Grandparent 3 Year Member

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    I think the geckos will adjust fine to whatever day/night cycle you set up.

    Aliza
  8. TeacherWithAGecko

    TeacherWithAGecko Gecko Egg

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    Ok, got another question. No gecko yet, just trying to figure this out before we get him. Also, I should say that the grant is done for this year for materials and I can't pay much more out if pocket until later this fall.

    The home tank where we're going to acclimate the gecko is set up. It's a repurposed 10 gal aquarium and will be mainly temporary until we move him to the 20L habitat at school.

    The home tank is in a room that gets daylight, but is on the West side of the house and doesn't stay extremely warm or cold. The school tank is in a heated classroom, but it gets cold enough in the winter that I won't leave the gecko at school longer than a normal weekend.

    Our heat source in the home tank is a 75w dark heat bulb in a dimmable clamp lamp. This allows us to adjust the heat as needed and gives good control. The heat source at school will be a thermostat controlled UTH that is already installed on the 20L tank.

    At home, we have a 6x6 ceramic tile and a wood hide on the warm side, and a similar hide on the cool side. The water and food dishes are on the cool side, and the moist hide will be somewhere in between.

    My problem is the temperature gradient at home. When I get the warm side up to temp, I can't get the cool side any cooler than 5 degrees below the warm side. What can I do with my clamp lamp to allow for temperature gradient? I currently have it above the hide as far to the side as I can, pointing straight down. Should I have the light heat from the side through the glass? Would it work to angle the lamp away from the cool side?

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    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  9. acpart

    acpart Gecko Grandparent 3 Year Member

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    That's the reason it's best to have the under tank heater only. In an enclosure that small, there's no way that a heat lamp from above will heat the tank more on one side than another. Unless the ambient room temp is really below the mid-60's in the winter, I'd recommend just using the under tank heater and not bothering about the heat light.

    Aliza
  10. TeacherWithAGecko

    TeacherWithAGecko Gecko Egg

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    Dang...well, I already put the UTC on the 20L tank at school, and my spot at home won't fit that tank. I'm stuck using the lamp on my 10 gal tank. I guess I'll mess with positioning until I can get a good gradient.
  11. acpart

    acpart Gecko Grandparent 3 Year Member

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    I know you can't spend more money, but if you check eBay, you can likely find a "mini" Zoo-med UTH (officially for 1-5 gallons but fine in my opinion for 10 gallon) for $10 or less, even free shipping.

    Aliza
  12. TeacherWithAGecko

    TeacherWithAGecko Gecko Egg

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    Thanks. I'll see what I can find.
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  13. TeacherWithAGecko

    TeacherWithAGecko Gecko Egg

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    Alright, progress.

    I got a UTH with thermostat and used it in conjunction with the digital thermometer. It got warm over three hours, but when I tried to heat the enclosure up to 88F with it, I couldn't get it up to temp. It hovered at 81-82F according to both probes. I turned everything off and thought on it.

    Today, I positioned the 75w dark heat lamp to the side of the enclosure and turned it down most of the way.

    After a couple hours, it is at 86F and climbing on the thermostat and holding at 82F on the digital thermometer.

    Any issues that any of y'all see? I may be ready to hold it at temp and add some humidity, and then maybe get a gecko.... :)[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

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  14. acpart

    acpart Gecko Grandparent 3 Year Member

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    I have found that the UTH is supposed to take 6 hours to get up to speed and actually can take several days to reach top temperature, so give it more time. The temp and humidity dials will probably not be accurate, but don't worry about them since you have the thermometer with probe. It looks good, glad things are chugging along.

    Aliza