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Thread: A heat lamp for a Chahoua? Maybe so!

  1. #1
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    Default A heat lamp for a Chahoua? Maybe so!

    I have to open this topic and give credit to jaspersail, as he was the first one I saw mention providing a heat source for Chahoua, which piqued my interest

    After hearing that John uses this method with some of his animals, and then listening to Allen Repashy's speech at the 2011 Gecko Symposium in Daytona, I thought I would experiment with it a bit on my own. For reference, Allen mentions raising his Rhacs in rooms where the temperature is ~85 degrees Fahrenheit and it seems that he has had a fair amount of success doing it.

    I also had a few pairs come of breeding age this season and I like to keep each pair in a 29 gallon “high” vivarium. I used large tubs for this previously but switched to vivs for a few reasons:

    - They’re easier for me to moderate humidity with
    - Females have more ideal places to lay eggs, as the “egg box in a tub with paper towel substrate” method was not working for me
    - I like to display these animals in my home
    - …I wanted to try adding heat to these enclosures


    I was setting up the new pairs and as vivs go, needed to add a UVB light source if I wanted to grow anything other than mold and mushrooms. I then went about purchasing a heat lamp and bulb that would give me a basking area of 86-88 degrees, and ended up with a 53watt bulb. I use metal/wire tops and set the heat lamp on one corner with cork slabs beneath so that the geckos can thermoregulate.

    The initial response from the geckos was overwhelmingly positive and I’d say that both male and female now spend 80-90% of the day directly under the heat lamp. The ambient temperature in my house is often 73-74 degrees during the day so the cool end of their enclosure is about 76 degrees. It gets down to about 71 at night, but of course there is no heat then.

    At this point, I really don’t have any conclusions but I do have a few theories. My hunch is that the heat speeds up the gecko’s metabolisms and stimulates their appetites. My pairs seemed to snap out of brumation faster than the lone males and females who didn’t have heat, and I have had a hard time keeping enough food in their tanks. Crickets, roaches, worms and fruit diets are being consumed with a gusto that I haven’t previously seen at this time of year.

    I have also started to get eggs and the additional food intake seems to be helping there as well. My girls have historically laid better eggs and bounced back faster in the late breeding season vs. early season and my guess is that it’s because they are slow to start eating in March/April and laying eggs really taps out their calcium and fat reserves. By September/October, they’re plump and happy from several months of normal food intake and in better physical shape. The first few eggs from this season are some of the best looking I’ve ever had and literally look like petite chicken eggs. I am not trying to turn this into a conversation about what diet you use, but am rather pointing out that the added heat seems to make them eat more regardless, which puts girls in better shape to lay eggs and bounce back quickly.

    The downside? So far, only three:

    - First is that tanks now need to be misted more thoroughly and/or more frequently to maintain appropriate humidity, as the heat lamp dries moisture up very quickly
    - Second is that I now want to add heat to every single Chahoua tank to see how it might benefit Chahoua of all ages, but space is limited!
    - Third is that my idea of Chahoua being a “simple” reptile to keep is kind of out the window if I am giving them UVB and heat lamps .


    Other than these minor issues, heat seems like a great addition, especially for breeding females!
    Charming Chewies: Specializing in Grand Terre and Pine Isle locales of chahoua.

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    Thanks for posting the information, Michael. I think it was Philippe deVosjoli who suggested that I add heat spotlight when my first female chahoua was holding on to her eggs. It did the trick and she dropped her eggs soon after I added the heat source.

    I now keep a 15-watt red bulb on 24/7 except during a couple winter months. It is in one corner, on the opposite side from the water and food ledge (so it doesn't dry them out), and the adults move in and out from under it frequently.

    For my juvie chewies, I position their kritter keepers on top of my adult cages so that one corner can benefit from the bulb warmth.

    --John
    3.8.4 Rhacodactylus ciliatus
    3.8.1 Rhacodactylus chahoua 'Pine Isle'
    1 Big Dumb Yellow Lab

    Jasper Sailfin Geckos on facebook

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaspersail View Post
    It is in one corner, on the opposite side from the water and food ledge (so it doesn't dry them out), and the adults move in and out from under it frequently.
    Why didn't I think of that...? I...am not intelligent...

    Thank you both for mentioning this and posting it on the threads. I have also been working with warmer temperatures vs cooler upon Michael's suggestion. I have also gotten a great response with my warmer tanks.

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    This is slightly off topic, but touched upon early in your post. I know that chewies are bit more monogamous then cresteds =) Is it ok to keep a breeding pair together all the time, assuming that there's a cool down period for a few months to give the little lady a breather?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaspersail View Post
    Thanks for posting the information, Michael. I think it was Philippe deVosjoli who suggested that I add heat spotlight when my first female chahoua was holding on to her eggs. It did the trick and she dropped her eggs soon after I added the heat source.

    I now keep a 15-watt red bulb on 24/7 except during a couple winter months. It is in one corner, on the opposite side from the water and food ledge (so it doesn't dry them out), and the adults move in and out from under it frequently.

    For my juvie chewies, I position their kritter keepers on top of my adult cages so that one corner can benefit from the bulb warmth.

    --John
    Thanks, John! I have started trying to do the same with my juvie and hatchling tanks, just to give them a little more warmth when possible. They too seem to enjoy it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mischiefunit View Post
    Why didn't I think of that...? I...am not intelligent...
    Don't worry, I did the same thing at first....but quickly moved it to the other side of the tank when their water was half-evaporated in two days!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shutter View Post
    This is slightly off topic, but touched upon early in your post. I know that chewies are bit more monogamous then cresteds =) Is it ok to keep a breeding pair together all the time, assuming that there's a cool down period for a few months to give the little lady a breather?
    I have been pretty lucky with pairs that have bonded very well. I've only had to separate one pair but that was a first year male who was an overzealous breeder. This year they have been fine. I leave my pairs together unless there is reason not to - aggression, low weights, lack of appetite, etc.
    Charming Chewies: Specializing in Grand Terre and Pine Isle locales of chahoua.

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    Mike, I absolutely LOVE your chewie research threads. They are always insightful and informative. Thank you!

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    Great post. I too have found that when the temp is in the upper 70s - lower 80s my rhacodactylus geckos tend to eat better.

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    This is a great post.


    So is the heat lamp recommended for all Chahoua or only breeding females?
    Aum

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    Is it the heat or the light its self that is desired?

    The reason I ask is because Im wondering if heat tape would be as effective? Because of my space available I cannot put lamps on many cages/tubs.
    Aum

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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenS View Post
    This is a great post.


    So is the heat lamp recommended for all Chahoua or only breeding females?
    I think that all ages and both sexes can benefit from the extra heat, but it seems especially helpful to breeding females.

    Quote Originally Posted by StephenS View Post
    Is it the heat or the light its self that is desired?

    The reason I ask is because Im wondering if heat tape would be as effective? Because of my space available I cannot put lamps on many cages/tubs.
    I am not sure...heat tape might work somewhat, but they seem to enjoy basking under the lamp...which is hard to do without a lamp, I think.
    Charming Chewies: Specializing in Grand Terre and Pine Isle locales of chahoua.

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