Blue Tongue Skink Tank Setup – Step By Step Guide

BluTongue Skink Tank Setup

Before bringing your Blue tongue skink lizard home, you must ensure their tank setup is up to standard as that will be their new home. For the perfect Blue tongue skink tank setup you need 40 gallon, horizontal glass tank with safe substrate such as PVC or untreated wood and minimal decorations.

Although, Blue tongue skins are easy pets to keep, it’s important to provide them with good care. To help you put together the best Blue tongue skink tank setup, we are looking at the following topics:

  • What is their habitat in the wild
  • Blue tongue skink tank setup components
  • How to put it all together to create the perfect new home for your lizard

Blue Tongue Skink In The Wild

Before knowing what to include in your Blue tongue skink tank setup, it’s important to know what their natural habitat looks like.

Blue tongue skinks are found in dry or semi humid habitats such as tropical forests, lowlands, coastal heathland in Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea.

If looked after properly, Blue tongue skinks can live up to 20 years and grow up to 24 inches.

Blue Tongue Skink Tank Setup

blue tongue skink tank setup

When it’s time to put together your Blue tongue skink tank setup, you must consider the following:

  • Type of tank
  • Position of the tank
  • Size of the tank
  • Substrate
  • Decorations
  • Feeding bowls
  • Temperature and humidity levels in the tank

Having the right tank setup is essential to your lizard’s health and happiness.

Type Of Tank

The first step in Blue tongue skink tank setup is picking the right type of tank.

As mentioned earlier, knowing Blue tongue skink’s behaviors in the wild will determine how you look after them in captivity. For instance, these lizards are terrestrial which means they spend most of their time on the ground and not climbing in the trees.

The best enclosure for your Blue tongue skink is horizontal glass reptile tank with a screened lid. The lid will provide ventilation, which helps manage humidity levels.

You can easily purchase the tank from amazon. The tank below is good size for your skink and it comes with a background already installed!

Position Of Tank

The next step in your Blue tongue skink tank setup is the position. As Blue tongue skinks are naturally shy animals, any sudden movements and loud noises can result in stress for them.

Therefore, you should position their tank somewhere quiet.

Size

Important part of your Blue tongue skink tank setup is picking the right size tank. Young Blue tongue skinks can be kept in a 20-gallon tank with full screen tops. However, an adult will need a tank that is minimum 36 inches long, 18 inches wide and 10 inches tall, with a full screen top.

The larger your Blue tongue skink tank is, the better as these lizards need floor space to be happy.

Substrate

Once you have the actual tank, you need to start thinking what you’re going to put inside. One of the most important components of your Blue tongue skink tank setup is the substrate.

As Blue tongue skinks will be spending all their time on the ground, the substrate plays a major role in their day to day life.

In your skink’s tank setup, you’ll need a substrate that:

  • Helps maintain high humidity levels that are essential to your lizard’s health
  • Dry, semi-soft material
  • It can’t be ingested by your skink such as loose substrate
  • Is not toxic such as treated woods

The best substrate options for your Blue tongue skink tank setup include aspen, tough paper such as butcher paper, fir barks, wood (not chemically treated), glass, PVC or reptile carpeting.

If you want to provide your skink with the option to be able to burrow themselves (which they love), you can use reptile bark or non-aromatic mulch. However, as these susbtrates tend to hold moisture and are at risk of bacteria and fungi grwoth, you’ll need to change them frequently.

It’s important to note that you’ll need to regularly clean any substrate you choose. With that in mind, the easiest to clean substrate is PVC, glass or reptile carpeting.

On the other hand, you should completely avoid substrates such as cedar chips/pine, clay cat litter, walnut shells, orchid bark or chemically treated wood. Also, sand, gravel and corncob substrate should be avoided as it can cause gastrointestinal blockage if ingested.

Decorations

blue tongue skink tank setup
Skink Tank Setup With Background

Many lizards need decorations as part of their habitat setup. Well, Blue tongue skink is not one of them. As these lizards don’t really do much climbing, they won’t need half of the things that a Crested gecko would need for instance.

The decorations in your Blue tongue skink tank setup should include cork bark, Mopani wood, logs, large rocks for basking purposes and a hide spot, ideally made out of plastic. It’s important to not include too many decorations as skinks like their open space. Too many items can cause the lizard stress and they will even start rearranging them.

Background

Part of the decorations in your skink’s tank setup is background. Although, this is not mandatory, it will provide your lizard with enrichment and remind them of their natural environment.

There are many backgrounds available in the stores and on line such as jungle and forest backgrounds. These realistic looking backgrounds are specifically made to resist water and can be taped to the back of the enclosure.

Hides

Hide spots are important for most lizards and Blue tongue skink is no exception. Ensuring there are hide spots are essential part of your Blue tongue skink tank setup.

Skinks have a burrowing nature and having the hiding spot will make them feel safe and secure in their new home.

You should include two hide spots in your Blue tongue skink tank setup. The first hide spot needs to be in the warm part of the tank and ideally needs to be flat-topped surface where your skink can climb and bask under the lights.

The other hide should be on the cool side of the tank.

Water Dishes

Another important part of your Blue tongue skink tank setup is providing water bowls/dishes. Clean water should always be available in an adequate dish.

Skinks don’t drink too often. However, you might often see them laying in the water dish, soaking.

The ideal water dish should be shallow as they are not good swimmers but large enough for your lizard to soak in.

Light And Temperature

Blue Tongue Skink Basking

Every reptile pet has different requirements when it comes to light and temperature levels. It’s important to ensure that your Blue tongue skink tank setup provides your lizard with what they need in terms of light and temperature.

Temperature

Your Blue tongue skink tank setup should have a warm side for basking ranging 90°F to 100°F and cool side ranging 75°F to 82°F. All the heating and lighting should be placed in the warm side.

To achieve this in your skink’s tank setup, you will need to include under tank heating such as heat mat and/or overhead basking light or heat emitter. In addition, you’ll also need a thermometer to ensure that temperatures are correct at all times.

The heating in the basking area should be on for around 12 hours a day.

Light

In terms of lighting, we recommend to include UVB light to your Blue tongue skink tank setup that should be on for 8 to 12 hours a day.

To learn more about what UVB light skinks needed and if they really need it in the first place, read the full guide Do Blue Tongue Skinks Need UVB? UVB Light Tank Setup

Humidity

Blue tongue skinks’ natural environment is semi-dry environments. Therefore, the ideal humidity levels in their tank should be kept between 40% to 60%.

To ensure that the humidity is at the correct levels at all times, you’ll need to include a hygrometer in the Blue tongue skink tank setup. This is especially important as too much humidity can result in health problems such as respiratory infections and skin issues.

The UVB lights should work towards decreasing the humidity. However, if you need to increase the humidity,  mist the tank once a day.

In terms of different Blue tongue skink breed requirements, the Northerns should be kept at 40% to 60%, whereas Indonesian, Tanimbar, Irian Jaya, Merauke and Kei Island skinks prefer slightly higher humidity levels.

Putting It All Together

Now that you have all the Blue tongue skink tank setup components, it’s time to put it all together.

Once you position the tank where you want it to be, start by applying the background to the glass walls. However, remember that this is optional.

Then, add a thick layer of 6 inches substrate. If the substrate is not made of solid material, you should ensure that is deeper on the cool side which will allow for burrowing when it gets too hot for your lizard.

On the cool side, place the cool hide and on the warm side, place the warm hide with basking surface to soak up the heat and light from the UVB light.

Continue by placing the large but shallow water dish in the centre of the tank and finish by adding all the decorations.

To ensure that temperature and humidity is correct, use the thermometer and hygrometer for a few days before bringing your skink home.

Final Thoughts

Blue tongue skink lizards are easy to care for. However, it’s important to provide them with what they need to be healthy and happy.

In this article, we discussed everything you need for your skink’s tank setup. For the ideal skink home you need a horizontal glass reptile tank with safe substrate such as PVC or untreated wood. In addition, you need to provide a large but shallow water dish and just a few decorations such as large rock for basking and two hide spots.

Apart from what goes in the tank, you need to ensure the temperature is kept at 90°F to 100°F warm side and 75°F to 82°F on the cool side and humidity levels at 40% to 60%. And lastly, you’ll need UVB light that’s kept on for 8 to 12 hours a day.

Getting your Blue tongue skink tank setup right is essential for your lizard’s well being and happiness as this is their new forever home.

Related Topics Q&A

Can Blue Tongue Skinks Live Together?

Part of skinks’s tank setup is knowing if skinks can safely live together. Many lizards display dominant behavior when kept together and skinks are no different.

You might be able to keep two females together or a male and a female. However, it’s important to constantly observe them and if there are any signs of disagreement, you’ll need to separate them.

Ideally, you should keep Blue tongue skinks alone in their tank as they are known to fight with other animals including same species. Furthermore, two male Blue tongue skinks should never be kept together.


References

https://lafeber.com/vet/wp-content/uploads/blue-tongued-skink-basic-information-sheet.pdf

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