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Slate

Discussion in 'Gecko Enclosures' started by Jolenels, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. Jolenels

    Jolenels Hatchling Gecko 3 Year Member

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    I've heard of using slate in habitats. I recently got my hands on a fair sized square and I was thinking about adding it to the terrarium, there would still be repticarpet and the tiles edges would be covered so that Dora didn't harm herself. But before I do I figured I would see if anyone else uses or has used slate? Is it worth it? Is it more trouble then good? Does the gecko seem to care either way? Lol. Any input is good input :)
  2. Indiana

    Indiana Gecko Egg

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    I've used slate in a number of enclosures.
    Easy to clean, easy for them to lick water off if you spray them, look good as decoration.
    Cons are that it's heavy. It can easily slip if you have it propped up against something so beware of that. It can also crack the glass. I don't know what your viv is like but if it's got a glass base or sides then if you're not careful then slate can scratch or crack it.

    Hope that helped!

    Indiana x
  3. Jolenels

    Jolenels Hatchling Gecko 3 Year Member

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    the new viv will have a glass bottom. It's a fish tank that we are repurposing, it's still in creation stages. I heard that it holds the heat from an UTH nicely, is that right? I was planning on having it on the ground with the repticarpet over it and a square cut out where the slate shows through but the edges are still covered. Is repticarpet the only substrate safe for geckos? I have a friend who is pushing me to use reptisand but I've heard that causes blockages if ingested.
  4. Indiana

    Indiana Gecko Egg

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    Yeah it holds heat really well, I think it's good for enclosures and have used it with loads of different reptiles.
    I've kept a number of leopard geckos on calcium sand and never had a problem with it. There's a lot of disagreements with people that keep reptiles and whether to use sand or not.
    I never had an issue and in my opinion, it is better. Leopard geckos natural habitat is in a desert so go figure what they would live on in the wild!
    You may not want to use it with baby ones because they're not so good at catching their foods and can ingest a little bit of it but I would certainly use it on adults.
    Then again, they would hatch in the desert in the wild so they would have the same problem there and that isn't even calcium sand is it?
    I like to keep my enclosures as close to their wild habitats as I can but it would obviously be your choice.

    Indiana x
  5. Amanda1

    Amanda1 Adult Gecko 3 Year Member

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    Slate is one of the best substrates you can use, imo. It holds heat really well. I use that over the heat pad and have paper towels over the rest of the cage.

    DO NOT use calcium sand!!! This is nothing like their natural habitat (as I understand, though I may be wrong, in the wild they live in rocky desert areas; not all deserts are sandy). Calcium sand is basically crushed up glass, and the individual granules are very sharp, even though they are so small that you can't tell without some form of magnification. When ingested these sharp little bugger can get stuck in the intestines very easily. While it's true that many people never encounter problems, I would never risk it. You can buy washed play sand at hardware stores that have rounded granules and are safer, but pretty much any particulate substrate carries some risk of impaction if it is ingested.
  6. Indiana

    Indiana Gecko Egg

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    Play sand is not digestible.
    Calcium sand is.

    Indiana x
  7. Indiana

    Indiana Gecko Egg

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    I used to work for a large company selling reptiles, my supplier who bred all our stock used to supply calcium sand specifically for leopard geckos and bearded dragons, it's what they used and it's what I used.
    Must have had over 100 leopard geckos in our store on it without a problem. That's without counting how many our supplier would have had.

    Slate isn't a substrate, it's decor :)

    Indiana x
  8. Amanda1

    Amanda1 Adult Gecko 3 Year Member

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    Going to have to disagree with you there. Nothing personal. And although the calcium portion of calcium sand is digestable in theory, that doesn't mean that a sharp granule of calcium won't get stuck in the intestine. The digestive system is not 100% efficient, so not all of it will break down. Even if it did, too much calcium can also cause health issues (look up hypercalcemia).

    Yes, I see tons of pet stores using calci-sand, but they sell the stuff so of course they want to promote it. Plus the reptiles are only in stores for a short amount of time until they are purchased, not long enough to see a problem. And if they sell a gecko and it dies of impaction later, then they can increase their profit by selling another one. From a business perspective, that's not a bad thing.

    Do your own research if you are considering using sand. One person not having a problem is not evidence that the stuff is safe. Many reptiles have died from impactions caused by sand. You can even find pictures from necropsies where vets have found the stuff blocking a lizards intestinal tract. It IS a risk, but it's your decision whether or not you want to take that risk.

    And slate IS a substrate. (By definition, substrate = the material used on the floor of the enclosure)
    brunerbags likes this.
  9. Josh

    Josh Administrator Staff Member 3 Year Member

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    I prefer slate personally. I would stay away from sand because of the risk of impaction. Not to say it WILL definitely happen but if it can be avoided, why not just avoid it and go with something that isn't digestible. I can't imagine the vet bill for an impaction issue. I'd rather just not have to worry about it at all.
  10. Jolenels

    Jolenels Hatchling Gecko 3 Year Member

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    I love the look of sand, but I've read a lot of negative bits about it. And the gecko is technically my daughters, so if it gets ill and dies I'll be responsible for life long scarring! Plus, we only feed her meal worms and she lunges at those suckers so hard you hear her face thump on the bottom of the tank. I'd be worried she would eat the sand willy nilly. We use repticarpet because it's easy to clean and looks nice. I have a friend who makes custom gecko enclosures (she's a gecko enthusiast) and she uses sand without issues, but it still just makes me nervous.

    While I have you all here though :) How big should your UTH be? Her new viv will be huge, waaaay bigger then I wanted but we got the tank for free so big it will be. In her teeny tank she has a teeny UTH, basically it's just underneath her hut and her hut takes up about a third of her tank, but when I put her in the large tank does half of it have to be covered? Or just a quarter?
  11. Larry

    Larry Gecko Egg

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    My first exotic pets were tropical fish. This was in the pre all glass tank days when slate was the bottom. I'm hoarder/don't throw away and as such have repurposed leakers used as habitats. Transfers and holds heat well and is more durable than glass (never had a heatcrack with it).
  12. Tongue Flicker

    Tongue Flicker Hatchling Gecko

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    Slate is nice just angle them well and avoid exposing sharp edges :)

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