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  • Researching CG - Question Dump

    Hello, knee deep in researching Crested Geckos here. I've read through a good deal of this forum & elsewhere but try as I might, I can't find answers to everything. I apologize for the question dump, but I would appreciate any and all advice you can offer.

    Sex/Age - I don't want to mess with eggs so I only want a male (females can immaculately conceive??). I guess I should be looking at ones around 16 grams to ensure sex. If online prices are indicative of the local market, verified males are more expensive, which is unfortunate.
    1. Am I missing out on some fun if I opt for a sexed juvenile, sub (or full) adult?
    2. I assume the younger they are they adapt to handling better?


    Terrarium
    1. Is there any way to avoid having to buy 2 terrariums? I thought I would just get a 12x12x18, but I've read that adults will be happier in the next size up.
    2. In a video a person recommended a 12x12x30, but I've never found anything to those specs. I would like to keep the small footprint of 12x12, any recommendations? I like the ease of large vertical doors.


    Substrate - I'll start with paper towels but would like to move to a more natural look.
    1. Exo Terra Forest Moss or Sphagnum moss good with artificial plants? Are these two basically the same?
    2. Any other suggestions for a natural look, easy to clean/replace substrate they won't ingest?


    Habitat Moves
    1. Ideally I would like to move the terrarium between my boys' rooms maybe every other week. If I put them in a critter keeper while I move the enclosure, is the change in room cause for concern? I've picked out similar spots on an interior wall away from the window/direct sunlight/drafts. Is this a stupid idea?


    Misting - This is the big concern. My nephew had a crested die b/c they were away & someone didn't mist him enough or on time. I think a misting system makes the most sense for me in the long run so it will cut down on this worry. MistKing seems to be the most recommended system & I don't mind spending more to minimize hassle/issues when it comes to a bucket of water on the floor.
    1. Are these set it & forget it or do they need constant fiddling?
    2. Using only distilled water I shouldn't really need to clean it (the nozzles, etc.), correct?
    3. For any of you who have a misting system, what does your setup look like? I would like to conceal the bucket & pump underneath.
    4. Is there a recommended timer setup? Once during the day while they sleep & more often at night while they are awake?
    5. Do their misting needs change as they age?


    Visibility/Handling - Everything says Cresteds are great first-time reptiles, but I wonder if this whole project is a waste since my boys go to bed before/around 9pm, I worry they will never see the critter or be able to handle it (or I get a blue light & my boys become nocturnal themselves). They are sometimes early risers though (630-7a). FYI, they are 9 & 7, so I've been talking to them about some of the cons of a nocturnal, non-bonding pet & I will be showing them handling videos should we embark on a Gecko adventure.
    1. When do you typically handle your scaly friends?


    Reference Material
    1. Is there a recommended concise but complete Crested book for beginners that I could read & use as a reference? Crested Geckos by Philippe De Vosjoil (Nov 2016) seems highly rated (though some reviews disagree). I've read through "Crested Geckos (Complete Herp Care)" by Adam Black but it's 12 years old.


    Thank you, this looks to be a great forum and I hope to become a part of it. Cheers in Herpetology.

  • #2
    Hey There, I can only answer the questions that I have personal experience with.
    Sex/Age -
    - Females in crested geckos are not parthenogenetic at least as far as I have researched, so any eggs they would lay would be infertile and you can just throw them away.
    - Some females will lay infertile eggs however in my experience most will not lay eggs until they are paired with a male. I had a female for over a year before pairing her with a male and she never once laid infertiles.
    - In my opinion its fun to watch them grow up and change in pattern when they mature.
    - You can adapt even an adult to handling, the same female I referenced earlier I purchased as an adult from Pangea, and she was a complete NUT with handling at first, she even bit me a couple times, but now we have an understanding of sorts.

    Terrarium
    - To truly avoid 2 tanks, buy an adult male.
    - For an adult it's recommended to have at least an 18x18x24.
    - I've never seen a 12x12x30 in inches. Maybe they got their centimeters and inches combined?

    Substrate
    - I only use paper towels so I can't speak to the natural vivariums.

    Habitat Moves
    -I would HIGHLY advise against moving the terrarium as it is stressful for the gecko.

    Misting
    -Adults are hardier than juveniles. If you're truly worried about dehydration, provide a water bowl for the gecko. I do for all of my animals.
    -I don't have a misting system, I mist all 30 some geckos I have individually.

    Visibility/Handling
    -Cresteds are great first time reptiles as they are very hardy creatures. You can manipulate when they are active by manipulating their day night cycle. The lights in my gecko room are on a timer, they will start to get active when they "expect" it to be dark.
    -I only handle mine when I need to clean their tank/every two weeks for weighing/and if I need to pair two geckos up for breeding. Handling is stressful for these animals, they can tolerate it but you want to keep handling sessions short, 5-10 minutes.
    -Our hands are very warm to them, especially when you consider their body temp is whatever the room is at, so thats usually a 20F degree difference between room temp and our body temp.
    -Even the calmest geckos may make an attempt and leap from your hands, they especially enjoy jumping on your face, which could be scary for a kid.

    Reference Materials
    -I wouldn't waste money on a book, the internet is your best resource, get many opinions from different keepers. Everyone keeps their geckos differently. There are lots of crested gecko myths out there that are being perpetuated, even in books. Take everything with a grain of salt and try to make the best sense out of everything.

    The biggest advice I can give to a new reptile owner, especially of crested geckos. If its pooping, its eating, you won't always see them put dents in their food, and sometimes they won't eat and don't hand feed your geckos.

    Edit: By water bowl I mean a 2.5oz portion cup. Not like a typical water bowl you would purchase from a chain store for reptiles. Only my very young geckos poop in it and its surprisingly not that often that it happens. Maybe 1 bowl every couple of weeks will have poop in it. The water bowl is especially helpful for geckos who walk through their food, they can easily have a soak in their water to clean themselves off. I can also assure you that they will drink from their water bowl, especially adults.
    Last edited by DeadlyPaws; 06-28-2018, 10:32 AM. Reason: Adding information
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    • #3
      Same here, can only speak to the things I have experience with.

      Sex/Age - I bought an adult male, and am happy with my choice. Younger geckos are fun to watch grow, but they can be a lot more flighty, and if you don't have the patience to tame them, you're out of luck. Your best bet would be an adult male who is used to being handled.

      Terrarium - a crestie can do "ok" in a 12x12x18, but they are happiest and healthiest in an 18x18x24, and will make full use of the tank. Exo Terra tanks are wonderful, with good ventilation and vertical doors for ease of use. If you get an adult, and a bigger tank, there's no need for two tanks.

      Substrate - I used paper towel to start, and have been experimenting with other things. Eco-earth can be used for geckos that are not babies or small juvies. I tried an Exo Terra Moss Mat, and was happy with that. I tried a coco mat, and it worked well for a while, but they do tend to fall apart after a while, and can be kind of messy to clean. I tried Galapagos moss, and that got moldy. Currently, I found some plant liner material from FarmerYou.com, and am using that covered with a layer of sphagnum moss. That seems to be working well, as both hold humidity without being soaking wet and getting moldy.

      Habitat moves - wouldn't advise it. Stressful, as noted in previous post.

      Misting - I hand-mist, and use purified water. Distilled water doesn't have any minerals in it, and they do need minerals for good health. Distilled water is good for the misting system, but not necessarily for the gecko, as they drink the water droplets and prefer that over bowls of water, generally.

      Visibility/handling - mine only come out when their blue lights come on about 9:00. If it were darker earlier in the room, they would probably come out earlier. But they are not active in the daylight. You might consider a leopard gecko - they are more active in daylight, although requirements are different, of course. But they make great beginner pets as well, and generally take to handling also.

      Reference material - hardly any in book form. Most good information is online, if you google "(reptile) care sheet".

      Hope that's helpful, and THANK YOU for doing your research before getting a pet for your boys! Geckos are long-term commitments, and if your boys will lose interest, that means they are YOURS.
      Last edited by TAD; 06-28-2018, 07:31 AM.
      Eileen
      TAD "Tiny Ancient Dinosaur" (Crestie), Hidey (Garg), O.G. "Office Gecko" (Bauer's Chameleon gecko), TBD "Tiny Badass Dragon" (Western Bearded Anole), 3.1.0
      Rody Jane (cattledog/stinkwad mix), Dixie Moonpie (rattledog) George P-Dog (lab/Great Pyr) 1.2.0, Ringer (barn cat) 1.0.0

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      • #4
        Just a few things from my experience:

        A 12x12x18 is too small for an adult. I have a 70g male and he is huge! He still has his tail so he is like 10 inches long, meaning he is as long as the tank is wide! That just seems cruel to me. I really would not keep an adult is something so small.

        Crested geckos are nocturnal. Mine are usually asleep by about 6am and don't wake up until about 9pm.

        I find that all 3 of my geckos aren't the best for being handled. Two don't mind too much, but my friendliest still likes to randomly jump even though he is an adult and it scares me when he tries to jump the 5 feet to the ground. My other adult male is hard to get onto my hand but once there he isn't too bad. I keep my handle sessions very short because I find they may not eat if I handle too much.

        Don't move the tank. Set it up in one place and leave it there. Maybe keep it in the living room or something so both kids can have access too it. Reptiles stress very easily and moving an enclosure around is a sure fire way to make them stressed. I just moved to a new apartment and all three of my geckos went off food for up to 2 weeks. Sometimes mine don't even eat for a day or two after I do a big cage clean because everything is a little different then before so they take a day or two to settle again.

        Also cresties are pretty delicate. I would supervise your kids carefully with them. They can be startled easily by loud noises and rough handling could make them drop their tail. They will probably drop their tail at some point in their life anyway and it doesn't grow back. All of my cresties still have their tails but I consider myself kinda lucky so far.

        An older gecko would be more hardy. Young ones are much more scared and will likely jump off you when handling. Adults will too of course but I find they tend not to run as fast. These geckos CAN RUN FAST! I have a 30g female that does not like to be handled at all regardless of all my attempts to tame and it is a trial to get her out of the cage for cleaning. I fear if she did ever jump from my hands when I finally manage to get her out of the cage she would run and be gone!

        I mist by hand as well. I mist all 3 usually twice a day. It depends on house humidity and if I am providing heat for their tanks sometimes I have to spray more or less then that. I provide bowls of water but all they do is poop in them. Cresties generally won't drink from a bowl. They drink water droplets from when you mist, that is why misting and proper humidity are so important. Heat is important too. Despite what everyone says you shouldn't be keeping your gecko at like 70 house temps all the time. They need a good daytime temp of 75 to eat and grow well. Being kept on the cold side of their temperature range makes them more sluggish and I find they grow slower and don't eat very often.

        I use paper towels as a substrate but I do provide a little plastic tupperwear in each cage filled with damp coconut fiber. I find it helps with humidity and gives them somewhere more damp or cool to be near or even crawl in if they need it. Keeping it in a tupperwear (that is large enough for the gecko) also makes for easier clean up.

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        • #5
          @DeadlyPaws
          Sounds like I misinterpreted what I read about females then; thank you for clearing that up. Do they require any special care vs. males if not breeding them?

          By how much can you manipulate their cycle, an hour or so? That is very interesting. Does that affect their health/demeanor/tails?

          Moving is out - got it.
          -----

          @TAD
          Sounds like an adult may be the best way to go. I'm trying not to be lured by the less expensive (& cute) hatchlings.

          That plant liner looks like it could work well. Is it better than the other reptile mats? Does it retain its form if you remove it & rinse it?

          Water - my tap water is very hard & I'm sure chlorinated/flourinated/___ated Can you rank these?
          Bottled water
          Distilled water
          Brita purified water

          Leopard Gecko - I briefly considered them but they don't seem as interesting (to me) not being arboreal, nor as cute. But if they handle better...tough choices.

          You're welcome & thank you.
          -----

          @Orchidilia
          Anyone ever try something like this?
          http://www.glasscages.com/?sAction=ViewCat&lCatID=4
          Maybe a custom 16x16x24? Not much difference than an 18x18x24 I suppose. A 12x12x30 would probably be less stable anyway. Looks like Pangea does not ship the 18x18x24 ET. Anyone have trouble with the glass arriving broken when shipped from Amazon or Josh's Frogs? Is there anything wrong with going acrylic?

          When you do a full clean, do you literally take everything out, wash them & reinstall? So that's a monthly stressor for them?

          And just so I'm clear on the light needs, they don't need light at night while awake (unless you want a blue light to watch them?) and daylight or any other light doesn't disrupt their sleep during the day?

          I really appreciate the responses. We went to a reptile show a few years ago & handled some cresties and that's when I started entertaining the thought. There are 3 shows coming up & I plan to attend at least one of them. I suppose you want to try & find a breeder that seems to have a genuine interest in the animal (rather than profit driven), & can answer questions easily? What's a ballpark reasonable price for a red/yellow/orange (not combined) patterned juvenile at a local show?

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          • #6
            Honestly I keep my geckos in plastic tubs I modified myself (or had my carpenter father help me make). One of mine is literally in a clear plastic tote that I cut a large section of the top out of and replaced with metal screen for ventilation. The other is in the cool halfmoon shaped tank that is a single piece of acrylic my Dad came across at one of his job sites and thought would make a good tank (it did). He made a removable custom wood top with a metal mesh section for ventilation. My youngest is the only one in a glass tank.

            A normal clean, which is about every 3 weeks for me I just wipe down the tank with vinegar and water to remove poop/pee and water stains, replace the paper towel substrate and wipe of poop from any plants/decor. They usually aren't too bothered by this since everything still kinda smells like them. They usually don't eat the night I clean though since I did just rip them from their house and shove them in another container for awhile, but after that first night they are fine. When I do a deep clean, I wash/soak everything in a bucket with a cleaner and this is when they can be a bit more upset. Generally regular cleaning doesn't bother them much. A day or two and they are back to normal. Moving the tank to a new place is when they are bothered. A different room of course would smell different, look different, sound different and have changes in lighting, temps and humidity. They can sense all these things and that will upset them. At least with cleaning the tank is still in the same place.

            Like I said before reptiles stress very easily. Changing things and cleaning the tank can stress them out a bit and any sort of handling is stressful too. Make sure if the gecko you get tolerates handling that you keep the time short, like only a few minutes and that you are quiet and very gentle. If they run from you don't force them. It may take time for the gecko to be ok with handling and they may never tame down at all. Like I said none of my geckos are very happy with handling so I don't do it often. One of them I don't handle at all because she runs as soon as I get to close to her.

            At night it should be dark. I do run a "night" light for my geckos since I live in a basement apartment and it is a little too cold for them at night sometimes. The lights are on dimmers so I can have them turned on just high enough to keep them warm. These light's aren't blue lights but some sort of black light I think. Regardless they don't bother my geckos, their pupils are fully dialated meaning they don't detect the light. I tried a red "night light" at one point but they could see it. Their pupils would stay tiny and they wouldn't move around at night (meaning they were sleeping). When I switched to my current lights, they started being active again.

            For water I just use my tap water with a reptile dechlorinator in it. The water here is rather hard but my geckos do fine and the vinegar mix takes care of water stains. You can't use distilled water since it lacks minerals and since the geckos drink the water droplets from misting they would not be getting important minerals. Britta water would be free of chlorine but it would still have just as many minerals in it since britta filters do not filter out those things. Bottled water could work but even many bottled waters contain chlorine. It's honestly cheaper just to dechlorinate your tap water.

            Reptile mats will likely mold. Remember you need to keep the tank fairly humid all the time and the mat would likely not dry out enough to prevent mold and bacteria growth. They are also hard to clean and would likely start smelling after awhile. That is why many people use paper towel since you can just throw it away when you clean and use new. Coconut fiber is another substrate people use especially for bioactive. It has natural antibacterial properties so it won't mold as easily.

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            • #7
              Females
              - The only thing I would do differently, is always provide a laybox in case she did decide to lay infertiles. I use moist coconut fiber in mine.
              Photoperiod
              -You can manipulate their day/night cycle to be whatever you wanted it to be. For example if you had them in a windowless room (so no natural sunlight could come in) you could get them to be awake during your day by having their light off during the day and turn the light on at night so they would sleep when you do. 10-14 hours of daylight is ideal.
              Water
              -Distilled water would be okay for them since the Pangea Complete Formula contains the vitamins and minerals the geckos need to survive. Personally I use purified water which I purchase in gallon jugs. I do this because tap water leaves mineral stains on the glass of the terrariums I use. I will use tap water to moisten the coconut fiber for my layboxes and humid hides.
              Cleaning
              -Just my two cents on cleaning. I always leave something with their scent in the tank when I do a cleaning. I only ever deep clean if I suspect an illness or if I'm moving them to a different size tank, since the new tank/tub will cause them to be stressed anyway.
              Last edited by DeadlyPaws; 06-30-2018, 10:15 AM. Reason: Adding more info
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              • #8
                @TAD
                Sounds like an adult may be the best way to go. I'm trying not to be lured by the less expensive (& cute) hatchlings.

                I had the same problem, but I'm glad I got an adult. TAD (crestie) is pretty chill. My garg baby was flighty and still is, now that he's an adult. In retrospect, I'd love to have gotten an adult that was used to handling, as I seem to have trouble taming him.

                That plant liner looks like it could work well. Is it better than the other reptile mats? Does it retain its form if you remove it & rinse it?

                I do like the liner. It does retain its shape, and is not difficult to rinse. The only thing I'd suggest is to cover it with a layer of sphagnum moss; the plant liner has a lot of small fibers on it, that I think will come off with repeated rinses, but I'm thinking it could stick to the gecko's feet if he spends a lot of time on the ground, and that might be a problem with shedding. I've put a layer of sphagnum over it, and problem seems to be solved. When I clean, I just gather up as much moss as possible off the liner, put it in a strainer, and wash the moss well that way, so there's very little loss of it when cleaning. I was also happy with the Exo Terra Moss Mats. They clean well also, and are better than the other reptile carpets out there, imho. I kept those in case I decided to switch back from the plant liner.

                Water - my tap water is very hard & I'm sure chlorinated/flourinated/___ated Can you rank these?
                Bottled water
                Distilled water
                Brita purified water

                Purified. Distilled doesn't have any minerals in it, and they do need some minerals in their water. I don't use bottled water, mainly because I hate the waste of so much plastic, but also, most bottled water is purified water in a smaller bottle.


                @Orchidilia
                Anyone ever try something like this?
                http://www.glasscages.com/?sAction=ViewCat&lCatID=4
                Maybe a custom 16x16x24? Not much difference than an 18x18x24 I suppose. A 12x12x30 would probably be less stable anyway. Looks like Pangea does not ship the 18x18x24 ET. Anyone have trouble with the glass arriving broken when shipped from Amazon or Josh's Frogs? Is there anything wrong with going acrylic?

                I ordered a 12x12x18 from Amazon - the first one arrived broken, but they replaced it at no charge. The 18x18x24 I got from my local pet store when they had a sale. Acrylic is fine, I just prefer glass, as it seems like there is less chance of scratching, or "fogging" over time.

                When you do a full clean, do you literally take everything out, wash them & reinstall? So that's a monthly stressor for them?

                Yup, I do a full clean, take everything out and clean the sides and bottom with F10 disinfectant, once every 2-3 weeks. I usually do it during daylight hours; mine usually sleep in a hide of some kind, which I pick up carefully and place in Kritter Keeper while I am cleaning; usually they stay asleep, and I can easily put them right back in when I'm done.


                And just so I'm clear on the light needs, they don't need light at night while awake (unless you want a blue light to watch them?) and daylight or any other light doesn't disrupt their sleep during the day?

                Correct.

                I really appreciate the responses. We went to a reptile show a few years ago & handled some cresties and that's when I started entertaining the thought. There are 3 shows coming up & I plan to attend at least one of them. I suppose you want to try & find a breeder that seems to have a genuine interest in the animal (rather than profit driven), & can answer questions easily? What's a ballpark reasonable price for a red/yellow/orange (not combined) patterned juvenile at a local show?

                Good plan of action. A good breeder will help you with follow-up questions too. Prices can vary so much. TAD is a plain-colored adult, and he was free for the cost of shipping from a forum member. The more rare the color and pattern, the more you will pay, but there are often good deals at shows.
                Eileen
                TAD "Tiny Ancient Dinosaur" (Crestie), Hidey (Garg), O.G. "Office Gecko" (Bauer's Chameleon gecko), TBD "Tiny Badass Dragon" (Western Bearded Anole), 3.1.0
                Rody Jane (cattledog/stinkwad mix), Dixie Moonpie (rattledog) George P-Dog (lab/Great Pyr) 1.2.0, Ringer (barn cat) 1.0.0

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                • #9
                  Thank you three for the responses again.

                  I was thinking of the gallon jugs in the store besides distilled, that's probably purified water? I wasn't meaning bottles of Dasani for the same reasons .

                  And now I'm also looking into vivariums as it seems they could be simpler in the long run, but that's a whole other research project. Any of you ever try to set one up? You think that's getting in too deep for a first time reptile owner?

                  Regarding a show, when we went multiple breeders had (I assume hatchlings or juveniles) in small lidded petri-like dishes, that had room for the geckos and nothing else. Is that normal/healthy for them to be displayed in such a fashion if they stress so easily? We handled 1 or 2 and they didn't seem flighty though I didn't have any frame of reference for judging their behavior at the time.

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                  • #10
                    yes being in the cups is typical for shows and if you order one online through a breeder it will be mailed to you in one of those cups. Yes, shows are stressful to them, there is no way it isn't. It is stressful to all reptiles to travel and be put in small cages with nowhere to hide but that is the way shows are, and that is just where we are at with reptile care at this point. I find their behaviour at a show will be very different from when they are home. The calmest looking gecko could be super active once it is in a safe space. It's not that different then people going to get cats and dogs at a shelter. The quietest dog at the shelter could turn out to be the most hyper and outgoing once they are in a safe and less stressful place.

                    By vivarium do you mean going bioactive? I don't know anything about that since it seems like way to much work for me. Make sure to do lots of research.

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                    • #11
                      I don't have bioactive either, as it is easier for me to clean with fake decor.

                      Both purified and distilled water comes in those gallon jugs at the store, you just have to be careful which one you get.
                      Eileen
                      TAD "Tiny Ancient Dinosaur" (Crestie), Hidey (Garg), O.G. "Office Gecko" (Bauer's Chameleon gecko), TBD "Tiny Badass Dragon" (Western Bearded Anole), 3.1.0
                      Rody Jane (cattledog/stinkwad mix), Dixie Moonpie (rattledog) George P-Dog (lab/Great Pyr) 1.2.0, Ringer (barn cat) 1.0.0

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