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  1. #1
    Registered User Lizrd_boy's Avatar
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    Leopard gecko loose substrate options?

    Hi there! So, once Lenetta is done laying for the year I want to move her into an upgraded 30 gallon enclosure. While I'm at it I want to change her substrate from cage carpet to something that will give her a little more opportunities to dig and have a more naturalistic setup. Not a full bioactive, not yet at least, I can't handle that right now, but something to give me some more things to look after in the geckos tank.

    I was thinking I would go for a DHP for the heater, since I've heard they heat geckos very efficiently, despite being heat from above. How would you recommend I control it?

    I also have an 18" flourescent fixture I was thinking I'd use with a UVB/UVA bulb for both the gecko and the plants (I'm not entirely sure this is the correct type of UV for plants so I'd appreciate any insight on that). I'd switch the gecko from calcium with D3 to without it so she doesn't get too much.

    As far as substrate, I was thinking I'd use a sand/topsoil mix. Does anyone have a better idea or anything? Also, How would I go about disinfecting the stuff first? I'm gonna be using regular lay sand and organic topsoil I'd buy from some hardware store. Not sure exactly where yet.

    For plants, what plants are safe and good looking, and relatively easy to keep alive in a geckos tank?

    Any other advice is greatly appreciated, I have not had experience with anything this elaborate before but I think Lenetta would enjoy the extra space and opportunities so I want to give her that.
    Last edited by Lizrd_boy; 07-14-2022 at 08:22 PM.
    My name is Josiah, proud owner of Lenetta and Lea the leopard geckos and Bluebelly the fence lizard.

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  3. #2
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    I just use dry cocofiber for substrate when I give mine a place to dig. They don't like the taste of it so they don't get tempted to slurp it up.

    Obviously regardless of what you do, having a dish to supplement vitamins and calcium would be best along with dusting prey.

    For the disinfecting, you could try cooking it on a sheet pan in the oven at a lower temp for a while.
    Succulents that don't have large spines or airplants have worked well for me in the past... But some geckos will actually try and nip them so if they do I take them out just in case.
    Last edited by Armiyana; 07-14-2022 at 11:13 PM.

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  5. #3
    Registered User Lizrd_boy's Avatar
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    Re: Leopard gecko loose substrate options?

    I was going to use plantation soil, but it is really dusty when it's not wet. I'm not sure about the geckos, but it even irritates my eyes.
    My name is Josiah, proud owner of Lenetta and Lea the leopard geckos and Bluebelly the fence lizard.

  6. #4
    Registered User Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    "I'd switch the gecko from calcium with D3 to without it so she doesn't get too much."

    I'd strongly recommend against this. The D3 synthesis from UV exposure is self-regulating; excess plasma levels of Vitamin D get degraded by UV light. This is to say, excess D3 cannot follow from exposure from reptile UVB florescent lamps. Additionally: to my knowledge, and according to a Google Scholar search I just now did, there is no evidence that leopard geckos self-regulate UV exposure, and so cannot be expected to get sufficient exposure to synthesize adequate D3. Further, hypervitaminosis D is extremely rare in captive herps generally and leos specifically, while hypovitaminosis D is one of the most common causes of morbidity.

    In any event, it isn't empirically established that leos benefit from UVB. Here is a recent study (coauthored by Baines, no less) that shows an increase in plasma previtamin D (Calcifediol), but no increase in actual D3 (Calcitriol) levels -- this means that dietary supplementation is 100% sufficient to provide ideal levels of D3 in leos. Further, other study metrics (growth, weight gain) were unaffected by UVB exposure. If there are more newer studies that show benefit, I'd love a link to them.

    More advice if you do decide to go ahead with UVB: buy and use a Solarmeter 6.5r. I got one and found that I was overexposing animals to UVB; correcting the levels improved behavioral problems I was attributing to other causes. Providing UVB without metering it is, in my opinion, the same as or worse than providing supplementary heat without using a thermometer to measure it (at least with heat you can feel it with your hand).

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    Bogertophis (07-15-2022),Erie_herps (08-16-2022)

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