Crested Gecko Habitat Setup: How To Build A Perfect Tank

crested gecko habitat setup
crested gecko habitat setup

Crested geckos make great pets and are popular in the reptile world. However, before bringing your gecko home, you must ensure the Crested gecko habitat setup provides everything this little reptile needs to be healthy and happy.

The Crested gecko habitat setup and the type of tank you choose can have an impact on their well-being.

Crested Gecko Natural Habitat

crested gecko habitat setup

Before you start putting together your Crested gecko habitat setup, you should be familiar where is their natural habitat in the wild.

The following are the most important points to remember:

  • Crested geckos, also known as eyelash geckos, are nocturnal animals, native to the island of New Caledonia
  • These geckos are mainly solitary and can live between 15 to 20 years
  • Their natural habitat in New Caledonia is tropical and humid with temperatures ranging between 72°F to 86°F, depending on the season
  • The Crested gecko is arboreal. This means that they spend most of their life in the branches of small trees and bushes. Usually, Crested geckos are found between 1 and 4 meters above the forest floor.

In order to provide your Crested gecko with an enclosure that makes them happy and keeps them healthy, you should put together a tank that mimics their natural habitat.

Crested Gecko Habitat Setup

crested gecko habitat setup

The ideal Crested gecko habitat setup consist of the following components:

  • Type of housing
  • Size of housing
  • Lighting, temperature and humidity
  • Water source
  • Food bowl
  • Hiding place
  • Decoration

Types Of Housing

The perfect Crested gecko habitat setup is with room for them to move around.

Furthermore, as the Crested geckos are arboreal, it means that they prefer to be somewhere high off the ground. Therefore, the ideal enclosure for your Crested gecko is vertical with branches for them to climb on.

The types of Crested gecko housing you can choose from:

  • Glass tank
  • Plastic tub
  • Bioactive enclosure

Glass tank

crested gecko habitat setup

A glass tank is available at most pet shops and online. It’s recommended to go for a glass tank with the following features:

  • Front-opening
  • Screen top
  • Ventilation holes at the bottom

The positives of choosing a glass tank are:

  • You can add natural-looking terrarium soil or moss
  • Your pet will be on display

Plastic tub

crested gecko habitat setup

Another option for Crested gecko’s housing is a plastic tub. As any other housing, the plastic tub has its positives and negatives.

Positives of plastic tub as a Crested gecko house include:

  • The geckos feel secure because of the semi-opaque material
  • This option is fairly cheap and doesn’t require much of an effort to set up

On the other hand, the negatives of a plastic tub include:

  • You won’t be able to display and easily view your animal because of the tub’s material
  • You must ensure there is proper ventilation. If there is lack of ventilation that can lead to health problems for your Crested gecko
  • It doesn’t look as nice as a glass tank

Bioactive enclosure

Normally, the material of a bioactive enclosure is made of glass. However, bioactive refers to the content of the enclosure.

A bioactive enclosure mimics the native habitat of your gecko and is made up of live plants, invertebrates and fungi to help control waste.

It’s important to note that this option has been criticized as the plants and woods can bring harmful bacteria into the tank. As a result this can affect the gecko’s health.

Positives of choosing bioactive enclosure include:

  • Aesthetically attractive
  • Low-maintenance
  • Provide many different micro-climes
  • Mimics their natural habitat
  • Reduce/eliminate habitat for pests and parasites to take hold
  • Low cost

Negatives of choosing bioactive enclosure:

  • The main negative is the risk of harmful organisms being brought into the bioactive enclosure. If the tank gets infected by bacteria, you’ll need to completely tear down the enclosure. Then, you must rebuild it by using new materials which can be time consuming and always runs the risk of happening again

Size Of Housing

crested gecko habitat setup

The ideal size of your Crested gecko enclosure should be:

  • 18″ x 18″ x 24″
  • 10 gallons for a young gecko and 20 gallons for an adult

You can go for a 10 gallon enclosure if your gecko is still small.

However, it’s recommended to choose the larger option as your Crested Gecko will be much happier in the long run with enough space to move around and you can even add a second gecko later on if you wanted to.

Lighting, Temperature And Humidity

In terms of the lighting and temperature in your Crested gecko habitat setup, this gecko’s requirements are pretty simple.

However, in terms of humidity levels, their needs are a bit more specific.

Lighting

There is a lot of discussion if the Crested gecko need UVB lighting or not.

As the Crested gecko is a nocturnal animal and spends their day time in a shade, we have concluded that UVB bulbs aren’t necessary.

However, if you’re not using a UVB light, a supplement rich in calcium is necessary to avoid developing Metabolic Bone Disease (calcium deficiency).

If you want to learn more about Crested gecko care click here Crested Gecko Care: The Ultimate Step By Step Guide

Temperature

In the wild, the Crested gecko lives in an environment that’s humid and tropical. The Crested gecko habitat setup should be always kept at temperatures between 72°F to 75°F.

Don’t allow it to reach 80°F or more as that can cause heat stress to your gecko and can be fatal.

To achieve the ideal temperature for your Crested gecko’s enclosure, you will need to attach a heat mat to the outside of one of the side panels of glass. This can be controlled by on and off thermostat.

If the tank is kept in an overly cold room, the heating mat might not be enough. In this case a low wattage basking bulb can be used over the warm end during the day time.

It’s important to note that terrariums have a lot of ventilation and little insulation. Therefore, as long as the tank is at least 45cm wide you should be able to achieve a good temperature gradient from the warm end to the cool end.

Humidity

An important part of the Crested gecko habitat setup is the humidity levels.

As Crested gecko’s natural habitat is high in humidity, that’s what they also need when kept as a pet.

To ensure that the tank’s humidity stay up, use a spray bottle with purified water (never use tap water).

Follow these tips to maintain humidity in your gecko’s enclosure:

  • Spray the enclosure with purified water to bring the humidity to 80% in the evening
  • Then, throughout the day the humidity will fall to 50% and when it hits mid of 50%, then you mist again
  • It’s important that the enclosure doesn’t maintain 80% throughout as geckos need variation in humidity levels
  • Mist twice per day – light mist in the morning and a stronger one at night
  • To measure the humidity, you need to use a digital hygrometer

What To Put Inside The Tank

crested gecko habitat setup

The following is the basics that you need to include in your Crested gecko habitat setup:

  • Water Source. It’s essential for your Crested gecko care to provide them with daily misting with a spray bottle. Furthermore, misting helps keep humidity levels up which makes shedding easier.

    If you decide to include a water bowl aswell, it should be cleaned frequently and needs to be shallow enough for the gecko to climb out of to avoid drownings. This is especially important for babies

  • Food bowl. The second more important thing in your gecko’s cage is their food bowl. For feeding, you can use a small container. However, for babies it needs to be something as small as a bottle cap

  • Somewhere to hide. Essential to your Crested gecko care and health is providing them with somewhere to hide and feel safe in their enclose. This can be either living or fake plants, item filled with moss, a small cardboard box, hiding log, etc

In addition, it’s recommended to include the following:

  • Substrate
  • Decorations

Substrate

Another component of the Crested gecko habitat setup is the substrate. What substrate you need depends on the size of the gecko.

For geckos that are smaller than 15 grams, it’s recommended to use paper towels.

The benefits of using paper towels include:

  • Hold moisture well: Paper towels hold moisture well and help stabilize the humidity
  • Cheap: Paper towels are cheap
  • Easy to clean/replace: Using paper towels as a substrate makes the cleaning process early. Just scoop the dirt with the old paper towel and replace it with a new one
  • No risk of impaction: As long as you don’t rip up the paper towels, there is no risk of it being mixed with the food

On the other hand, if your gecko is more than 15 grams, it’s recommended to use natural substrate. Once your gecko is matured, they will have stronger digestive system and there is less risk of impaction.

It’s recommended to use shredded coconut fiber substrate. This option is 100% natural/eco-friendly and quite popular.

Decorations

In order to have a happy and most importantly healthy Crested gecko, you should fill their enclosure with plenty of decorations that mimic their natural habitat.

You should include:

  • Flooring
  • Natural looking background
  • Sticks and logs
  • Climbing vines, leaves and plants
  • Feeding ledge
  • Water catching decoration
Flooring

For the flooring of the Crested gecko’s tank, it’s recommended to use any of the following:

  • Bark chips
  • Soil and moss mix. This is to be used if you plan to keep artificial plants.

The purpose of the substrate is to hold up heavier branches and vines that can create a vertical structure with multiple ways to get from one side of the enclosure to the other.

Natural Looking Background

If you want to have finished look of a jungle type enclosure, you need to add a natural looking background. This needs to be done before adding all the leaves, sticks and vines in your Crested gecko habitat setup.

The natural looking background is artificial and usually resembles rocks or wood.

However, it’s important to note that this is not mandatory. If you wan to create an enclosure that resembles your Crested gecko’s natural habitat, then we recommend including some type of background that mimics natural materials.

Sticks And Climbing Logs

As Crested gecko’s natural habitat is tropical with many tall trees, bushes and branches to climb and hide, you will need to recreate that environment as much as possible.

By including sticks and branches, you’d be providing them with the feeling of safety and familiarity.

As the Crested gecko needs a hiding spot to feel secure, you can add a hollow log which they can use as their hiding spot.

Climbing Vines, Leaves And Plants

Branches and stick aren’t the only necessity for your Crested gecko habitat setup. In addition to that, you need to include the following:

  • Variety of plants
  • Vines for climbing. The vines can be draped across the enclosure and Crested geckos love them

It’s important to note that all the plants, vines, sticks, etc you use should be artificial unless you have decided to go with the bioactive enclosure route.

Feeding Ledge

Another recommended component of your Crested gecko habitat setup is a feeding ledge. These type of ledges are artificial. However, they are made to look like they are from a natural material such as wood.

Normally, the feeding ledge will have a magnet on each side for attachment.

The feeding ledge is recommended as Crested geckos prefer to eat at elevated heights. In some cases, some geckos have been known to refuse eating at a ground level.

Water Catching Decorations

If you want to go the extra mile for your gecko, a good addition is water catching decorations. In their natural habitat, the Crested gecko will drink rain water caught in leaves and hollow wood openings.

Such artificial water catching decorations include thick railing plants or resin ornaments.

Cleaning Of The Enclosure

After you have set up your Crested gecko’s enclosure, another important thing to note is the cleaning process.

Cleaning your gecko’s enclosure is essential to their health and overall well-being.

Follow these tips to maintain a clean enclosure:

  • Daily spot cleaning. It’s recommended to do a spot clean every day
  • Deep clean – is required once a month. This includes removal of the gecko, all decorations and bedding. Then, you need to spray the enclosure and its walls with a reptile friendly disinfectant. Once the spray has been left on the surfaces for 30 seconds, wipe it off with a paper towel. Repeat the process at least twice to ensure all waste has been removed
  • The decorations can be cleaned using the same method
  • Bioactive enclosure. If you have a bio-active enclosure, you will only need to do a spot clean and monitor the your gecko’s health

Cost Of Crested Gecko Habitat Setup

One of the main reasons why Crested geckos are popular pet is because they are so easy to care for. These low maintenance geckos don’t require much and the cost of your Crested gecko habitat setup can be overall cheap.

However, if you want to go all out, you must prepare to spend minimum of $400.

With that said, below are the average prices of what you need:

  • House. The actual enclosure can be either a plastic tub $7 to $10, glass tank with no decorations can cost anything between $30 to $70, glass tank with background and some decorations start from $200
  • Decorations. Plants, vines, sticks, climbing logs for your Crested gecko habitat setup can cost anything between $60 to $100
  • Other. Lastly, you need to buy a thermostat, digital hygrometer, substrate and food/water bowls for your gecko which can be a total of $47.87. However, you can probably find it even cheaper

Final Thoughts

Crested geckos are popular reptiles, mainly because they are low maintenance and easy to care for. The same goes for your Crested gecko habitat setup. This type of gecko doesn’t have many specific requirements.

However, it’s still important to provide them with an adequate enclosure that meets all their needs and most importantly keeps them healthy.

In this article we have covered the following:

The types of Crested gecko houses:

  • Glass Tank
  • Plastic Tub
  • Bioactive enclosure

The ideal size of your Crested gecko enclosure should be:

  • 18″ x 18″ x 24″
  • 10 gallons for a young gecko and 20 gallons for an adult

What to include in your Crested gecko habitat setup:

  • Water source
  • Food Bowl
  • Hiding spot
  • Natural looking background
  • Decorations such as leaves, climbing vines, sticks, logs, rocks
  • Feeding ledge

Cleaning the enclosure:

  • Daily spot cleaning
  • Once a month deep clean of enclosure and decorations

The overall cost of the building your Crested gecko’s enclosure can vary. If you want to provide them the basics and are on a low budget, you won’t need to spend more than $110.

On the other hand, if you want to go all out and recreate a little jungle in a glass tank for your gecko, the cost starts at minimum price of $160.

If you want to buy a ready to go glass tank with all the decorations, you’ll need to spend minimum of $200.

You may also like...