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  • Crested gecko tips!

    I am new to crested geckos but have done lots of research. I plan on having the exo terra 24x18x24 that's completely planted (with other vines and ledges of course!) and I'm not sure if I'm going to feed rapashy or Pangea food. What do your geckos like? I also plan on getting a crested gecko that's six months old. Is that too small for the terrarium? If so I will keep him in A plastic tub until he gets big enough. Any advice is appreciated.

    EDIT: should I go with a planted tank or not? I love the look of planted tanks but don't want to risk impaction.
    UPDATE: a lot has happened since I posted this,so let me fill you In firstly I have a 2 year old male crested gecko. He is currently living in a 12x12x18 exo terra that he has lived in all his life. I have decided to go with my original plan to get the 24x18x24 and make it bio active. I do realize this will take a few months and in the meantime he will live in his old tank.
    Thank you so much!
    Last edited by Crested gecko love; 07-31-2016, 08:54 PM.

  • #2
    Hi, thanks for coming on the forums and more importantly, thank you for being responsible and doing lots of research!

    I tried Repashy because of all the nutritional recommendations (I think there are a lot of Allen Repashy worshippers out there) and my gecko would barely touch it. He was also raised on Repashy from birth, so yeah. I wanted to offer him variety, and tried Pangea. The difference in feeding response has been profound. He absolutely devours both his Watermelon and Apricot flavours of Pangea. He is growing extremely well and eats his food consistently. I highly recommend Pangea to everyone, as geckos generally seem to enjoy it far more. It is also nutritionally great too.

    Weight of a gecko is more indicative than age- a 6 month old can weigh 5 grams or 12 grams- you will find that weight will be a better guide for tank size. My kid is 5.5 months old, weighs 11 grams and lives in a 30cm x 30cm x 45 cm. He is being moved into a 45x45x60 in a few weeks time.

    I also strongly recommend feeding your gecko Dubia roaches, dusted and no bigger than the distance between your geckos eyes. My kid LOVES munching Dubias

    I don't personally keep my gecko in a live terrarium- main reasons being ease of care and hygiene. I'm plastic plants and paper towels all the way, and to be honest I probably won't change that, for various reasons.

    A few disadvantages of live planted terrariums:

    1) Waste- your gecko will most likely produce more waste than your plants can keep up with and break down. You will need Isopods to help out in that regard. Keeping an ecosystem healthy and safe for your gecko is not to be taken lightly. I would always recommend planting your terrarium first, keep it going for a month before introducing any gecko. This way you can see how hard or easy it is to keep clean, and any other issues that might pop up.

    2) Impaction Hazard. Eco soils and coconut fibre carry a significant risk with regards to impaction. The crested geckos natural habitat is higher up from the ground than a planted vivarium can replicate- your gecko is effectively 'forced' much closer to the ground than he/she would naturally be in the wild. It is not uncommon for geckos to accidentally ingest soil materials that they simply would not encounter in their natural environment, due to their preferred proximity to the forest floor. Impaction is a slow, painful death that is very difficult to treat. You must consider if the advantages of a planted terrarium are worth this risk. This is obviously a personal decision, and many people have live planted setups with no issues whatsoever. I just decided against the risks.

    3) Moulds, bacteria, over humidity. All of these factors must be offset by a carefully balanced Eco system, as highlighted above. Not an easy task! Cleaning is also far easier and consistent with paper towels, I have found.

    I'm not sure how helpful that is to you, just thought I would offer my perspective on the subject, as I had also wanted to create a live planted setup before I read into the risks and weighed up the advantages against disadvantages. My kid has a beautiful, natural lookng setup with a shrubby tree theme, I also have coconut shells, vertical cork bark 'branches' and a Buddha nut ledge which he loves sleeping in and climbing on. He is always very engaged with his environment, and never seems bored or unhappy

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you so much for your quick reply! I am quite scared of impaction and don't want my baby to get hurt. Does anyone know of a substrate that can sustain plants but won't cause impaction? If not I may just stick to paper towels and artificial plants.

      Comment


      • #4
        any loose substrate can cause imaction. but, if you feed them live food in a seperate container and use say, eco earth, that minimizes your risk level. although its still high. never use bark chips or anything of that sort.
        I use paper towles, and it works wonder!
        .1.DOG Jiggles
        1.1.CRESTED GECKO Phantom & Lovely
        .1.YBST Cloveth
        .1.MINIPIG Judy(food&belly rub is kinda apig deal)
        1..RAT CoconutRatMinneapolis RIP
        1.0.2COCKATIELS

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you for replying! I won't feed insects in his cage. I will feed them in a separate container. I will look into planted tanks some more before I make my final decision.
          This is such a helpful forum!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Crested gecko love View Post
            Thank you for replying! I won't feed insects in his cage. I will feed them in a separate container. I will look into planted tanks some more before I make my final decision.
            This is such a helpful forum!
            Paper towels have routine advantages too- every Friday, I take out 2-3 small roaches from my colony and dust them, before setting them aside in a cup which I then put into a small Kritter Keeper for feeding purposes.

            I remove most of Thio's furniture before handling him for 10 mns. I reward his patience by placing him into the Kritter Keeper where he can chase Dubias around.

            While he's kept busy with that, I remove his old paper towels, give his tank a quick wipe and clean any obvious mess on his furniture. After that, Thio goes back in his nice clean tank with a belly full of lovely roaches

            This forum is fantastic- I have been on it nearly every day since I got Thio.

            There is so much to learn from others, and it is great to make some friends (both human and gecko) along the way. Read everything you can here, and you will be a great owner for it! I hope to get to know you and your gecko when you are ready


            P.S Kat, Desktest is a gorgeous gecko! I loved the pics!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by HappyMaskedGuy View Post
              Paper towels have routine advantages too- every Friday, I take out 2-3 small roaches from my colony and dust them, before setting them aside in a cup which I then put into a small Kritter Keeper for feeding purposes.

              I remove most of Thio's furniture before handling him for 10 mns. I reward his patience by placing him into the Kritter Keeper where he can chase Dubias around.

              While he's kept busy with that, I remove his old paper towels, give his tank a quick wipe and clean any obvious mess on his furniture. After that, Thio goes back in his nice clean tank with a belly full of lovely roaches

              This forum is fantastic- I have been on it nearly every day since I got Thio.

              There is so much to learn from others, and it is great to make some friends (both human and gecko) along the way. Read everything you can here, and you will be a great owner for it! I hope to get to know you and your gecko when you are ready


              P.S Kat, Desktest is a gorgeous gecko! I loved the pics!
              that sound like a good rourine!












              P.S Andrew, Thank you! your Thio is also gorgeous!
              .1.DOG Jiggles
              1.1.CRESTED GECKO Phantom & Lovely
              .1.YBST Cloveth
              .1.MINIPIG Judy(food&belly rub is kinda apig deal)
              1..RAT CoconutRatMinneapolis RIP
              1.0.2COCKATIELS

              Comment


              • #8
                There are many responsible keepers who have cresties in a bioactive/planted tank in a safe matter. Also, paper towel is not immune to impactions, I have heard of several cresties who have ripped off and eaten paper towel as well. In addition, all females should have access to a lay box where they will also be exposed to substrate. However, there are safe guidelines for all of these circumstances that should minimize risk.

                I have two bioactive tanks myself, plus many bins with papertowel. I find maintenance of a mature bioactive tank much easier than the dismantling/cleaning of a papertowel-based tank, especially if you have many enclosures to tend to. If I had my way (and the $$) I would prefer to have them all in bioactive tanks as those tank janitors are awesome, humidity is maintained much easier, and I don't need to clean my real plants (pretty much only have to spot clean glass or logs ocassionally). Only thing that prevents me is that its a pain if you have females laying fertile eggs who will invariably choose to dig and lay in the substrate rather than lay box!

                NEHERP and Josh's Frogs are usually a good resource/store for natural setups.


                HappyMaskedGuy, only using your quotes as it makes good points to discuss (and I get lazy typing, lol), but a few points from one who has used these setups:

                Originally posted by HappyMaskedGuy View Post

                A few disadvantages of live planted terrariums:

                1) Waste- your gecko will most likely produce more waste than your plants can keep up with and break down. You will need Isopods to help out in that regard. Keeping an ecosystem healthy and safe for your gecko is not to be taken lightly. I would always recommend planting your terrarium first, keep it going for a month before introducing any gecko. This way you can see how hard or easy it is to keep clean, and any other issues that might pop up.

                I agree that setting a tank up early to letting the plants and springtails/isopods adjust is ideal. Maintaining tank janitors is actually quite easy. The only thing to look out for is sometimes there is a bit of mold when starting a tank before the community reproduces enough to keep it under control. A 6 month old likely would not be big enough for your ExoTerra yet, so keeping a tub until he reaches size while your ecosystem acclimates would probably be best

                2) Impaction Hazard. Eco soils and coconut fibre carry a significant risk with regards to impaction. The crested geckos natural habitat is higher up from the ground than a planted vivarium can replicate- your gecko is effectively 'forced' much closer to the ground than he/she would naturally be in the wild. It is not uncommon for geckos to accidentally ingest soil materials that they simply would not encounter in their natural environment, due to their preferred proximity to the forest floor. Impaction is a slow, painful death that is very difficult to treat. You must consider if the advantages of a planted terrarium are worth this risk. This is obviously a personal decision, and many people have live planted setups with no issues whatsoever. I just decided against the risks.

                I slightly disagree in that crested geckos are *semi* arboreal and will encounter earth substrate in their natural habitat. You are correct that in enclosure, loose soil/substrate can accidentally be ingested and become a possible impaction hazard, but this is usually in association with catching insects. However, by choosing a safer substrate (not of a size to be the worst danger), use materials to cover the substrate (live moss and leaf litter), and feed insects in an escape-free dish or separate enclosure.


                3) Moulds, bacteria, over humidity. All of these factors must be offset by a carefully balanced Eco system, as highlighted above. Not an easy task! Cleaning is also far easier and consistent with paper towels, I have found.

                Again, with a mature tank with enough space for your gecko (with a too-small tank, the janitors may not be able to deal with all waste effectively) I find a bioactive tank much easier to maintain and keeps a more stable environment.
                If you really like the idea/look of a natural planted tank, it is a very viable and safe option that many keepers choose to utilize if done with safety in mind. To emphasize, I find that leaf litter and moss are helpful in reducing risk with a planted bioactive system. To get an idea of what it looks like, I have a pic of one of my boys eating from his glass roach dish over a moss blanket and you can see magnolia leaf litter nearby. My two with a planted tanks rarely encounter the soil, but from time to time they seem to think sleeping under a leaf and making me think they escaped is really awesome

                Dedicated to the health, quality, and genetic diversity of Crested Geckos (Correlophus ciliatus)
                DoubleHelixGeckos.com
                Facebook Page
                iHerp Page

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CrestieFu View Post
                  There are many responsible keepers who have cresties in a bioactive/planted tank in a safe matter. Also, paper towel is not immune to impactions, I have heard of several cresties who have ripped off and eaten paper towel as well. In addition, all females should have access to a lay box where they will also be exposed to substrate. However, there are safe guidelines for all of these circumstances that should minimize risk.

                  I have two bioactive tanks myself, plus many bins with papertowel. I find maintenance of a mature bioactive tank much easier than the dismantling/cleaning of a papertowel-based tank, especially if you have many enclosures to tend to. If I had my way (and the $$) I would prefer to have them all in bioactive tanks as those tank janitors are awesome, humidity is maintained much easier, and I don't need to clean my real plants (pretty much only have to spot clean glass or logs ocassionally). Only thing that prevents me is that its a pain if you have females laying fertile eggs who will invariably choose to dig and lay in the substrate rather than lay box!

                  NEHERP and Josh's Frogs are usually a good resource/store for natural setups.


                  HappyMaskedGuy, only using your quotes as it makes good points to discuss (and I get lazy typing, lol), but a few points from one who has used these setups:



                  If you really like the idea/look of a natural planted tank, it is a very viable and safe option that many keepers choose to utilize if done with safety in mind. To emphasize, I find that leaf litter and moss are helpful in reducing risk with a planted bioactive system. To get an idea of what it looks like, I have a pic of one of my boys eating from his glass roach dish over a moss blanket and you can see magnolia leaf litter nearby. My two with a planted tanks rarely encounter the soil, but from time to time they seem to think sleeping under a leaf and making me think they escaped is really awesome

                  Hi CrestiFu,
                  Thank you for addressing the question of live setups so thoroughly- I genuinely feel more educated on the matter, and I completely agree with the use of a forest floor 'layer' of leaf litter and moss to minimise the contact between gecko and detritus. You raised many great points which show the advantages of a live planted setup, and I may reconsider my own preference as such in the future. I do however think that a beginner is probably best holding off on such a setup intially. It carries a lot of variables which need balancing. Plastic plants and paper towels might not be perfect, but I do find them easy to monitor and clean.

                  If you don't mind me asking- don't your geckos ever have a shot at attacking the Clean up crew? Always wondered lol

                  Thanks again for the great info

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lovelyanddekstest View Post
                    that sound like a good rourine!












                    P.S Andrew, Thank you! your Thio is also gorgeous!
                    Thanks Kat
                    Wil do my best to get some better pics up on here.

                    Will also keep you updated on the search for Kone

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HappyMaskedGuy View Post
                      Hi CrestiFu,
                      Thank you for addressing the question of live setups so thoroughly- I genuinely feel more educated on the matter, and I completely agree with the use of a forest floor 'layer' of leaf litter and moss to minimise the contact between gecko and detritus. You raised many great points which show the advantages of a live planted setup, and I may reconsider my own preference as such in the future. I do however think that a beginner is probably best holding off on such a setup intially. It carries a lot of variables which need balancing. Plastic plants and paper towels might not be perfect, but I do find them easy to monitor and clean.

                      If you don't mind me asking- don't your geckos ever have a shot at attacking the Clean up crew? Always wondered lol

                      Thanks again for the great info
                      Thanks, I'm glad you found the info valuable I do agree that there is definitely more research needed if one is interested in this type of setup, and paper towel would be my first suggestion for someone new. However, if one likes this style of enclosure, does the proper research and appropriate setup (I didn't even hit on drainage layer, etc) in the long run it really can "take care of itself" aside from pruning and/or putting in new leaf litter once in a blue moon. Initial overhead and labor is much more intense than a papertowel substrate, though! There are pluses and minuses to both, but I think both can be quite safe options for cresties.

                      Regarding the cleanup crew - the springtails are so teeeeny so no the geckos barely notice them (but they are fun to watch take over a recent poo, yum). Isopods are a bit bigger an depending on species some can be around 1/2" or so. I have purples that hit 1/4" as adults and I think they are just too small to interest my adult geckos, but have heard stories of some younger geckos going after bigger isopods. As they are terrestrial crustaceans, isopod exoskeletons include calcium carbonate, so actually have an excellent calcium ratio and not need to be dusted even if a gecko did eat them.
                      Dedicated to the health, quality, and genetic diversity of Crested Geckos (Correlophus ciliatus)
                      DoubleHelixGeckos.com
                      Facebook Page
                      iHerp Page

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Question- do people prefer a fogger or a mister for their cresties? My carpal tunnel is making the spray bottle a chore.

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