Reptiles are very sensitive to the weather and the environment around them and this is why heat is usually required for most reptiles when housing them. They for the most part live in very warm climates that never get cold so you need to make sure that they always have a warm place to stay in.
Much like a human, sometimes reptiles will decide that it’s time to warm up and when they get too warm or get tired of the heat, they’ll decide that it’s time to go inside. It really depends on what the reptile wants at that exact moment.
Most people recommend using what’s known as an under the tank heater that’ll warm the entire tank while safely resting under it. There are about a million of these out there on the market and everyone has their different preferences so choosing one will ultimately be up to you.
Different lamps and heaters will come in various sizes and you should realistically look at how big your tank is and determine just how much heat you would need. Obviously, a 30 or higher gallon tank is going to require a bigger heater or lamp than say a 10 gallon tank would require. So the very first thing that you need to do is, make sure you get a heater that’s appropriate for the size you’re going to be using.
When setting up your environment/heating system for the tank, what you’re going to want to do is place the heating pad all the way over to the side of the tank. You can pick any side; it doesn’t really matter much for this part, as some people will want to set their tanks up differently. Most of these can be peeled off and the pads will stick right on the aquarium but there are some other unconventional methods out there for heating pads as well. We’ll just stick with the most common ones for this article. I sincerely doubt any leopard Geckos you put in the tank will care which side you put the heat pad on.
Make sure you’re sure though once you stick it on because once it’s on the tank, it’s not going to be removed nor should it be removed. Also, you can look into heat tape as well as it’s confirmed to work just as well as a heating pad. It’ll all come down to personal preference but either way, they both appear to work without any issues.
Before even putting any leopard Geckos into the tank, you should ALWAYS have a thermometer at the ready and available to check and make sure that the temperature is up to standard to house leopard Geckos. You’re going to be checking the gradient of the enclosure here.
TIP: DO NOT use the thermometers that stick to the side of the tank because while they may seem practical, they actually cost a lot more than the actual thermometers that you need to use and they’re only going to give you the air temperature of inside the tank and they’re not going to give you the enclosure’s temperature to determine if you’re at the efficient levels or not.
The reason for not relying on air temperature is because you need to know the common areas that a Gecko is going to reside and those are the areas that you should be checking. Other areas won’t matter nearly as much because the Gecko isn’t even going to be there. So what kind of thermometer should you be using? Essentially, the best and most efficient ones to use for this general purpose are the stainless steel aquarium thermometers that are made for this specific purpose. Most of your local pet stores or pet shops should carry these and if not, then you can always ask the employees in the pet store if they know who might carry one around your area.
The most important area to monitor over all others will be the hot spot that’s located right above the heater under the tank. It’s recommended that you check the temperatures at least once a week, while some people say they check them once every two weeks. Again, there’s nothing wrong with being safe over being sorry.
There’s an ideal temperature you’re going to want to look for and when you measure the side of the cage that’s warm, you should see 90 degrees Fahrenheit. On this side of the enclosure you will place the one of the geckos hides. Placing this above the heating pad will provide the gecko a great place to rest and stay warm. The cooler side should stay between 70 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Leopard Geckos tend to only venture out at night and aren’t commonly out during the day, so the good news here is that you’re not going to have to spend money on any UV bulbs or anything like that. They’re night owl reptiles so you typically won’t see them out and about during the day. You can find them during the day under a cool or dark hiding spot which is why when housing them; it’s recommended you put a box or a cool structure for the Gecko to reside in.
If you notice your leopard Geckos stop eating and you have bright lights in the tank, turn them off or remove them immediately because they can starve to death if they become stressed out from the lights.
y to sell you out on the idea that you should buy heating rocks or “alternative sources” for heating the tank, but it’s best to stay with what we know works and what we know is safe.