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Old 01-20-21, 05:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Heat source for crested gecko?

Hi there. Iíve been trying to get ideal conditions for my crested gecko. His name is Trico and he is 7. I was initially under the impression that they should be kept at room temperature and around 65% humidity at the lowest time of day. Recently I have been reading up and listening to advice on here that the humidity should be higher like 80% and temperatures should also be higher.

I have been using no heat source aside from exoterra natural light that emits a little heat during the day. Temps in winter have been around 63-70. The low being just misted at night and high being day when my heat is left on to long in my apartment. Apparently this is too low and I should be shooting for 70-80 range.

What do you guys keep your cresties at? I just bought a zoo med 25w moonlight heat bulb to try. Itís supposed to be a low constant heat source that wonít disrupt day night cycle. Do you guys use it? How much does it lower humidity?

88AF9764-3D10-477F-BAC2-7A55EF04CFD9.jpeg

For info on my set up: I have Trico in an 18x18x24 exoterra with a glass partition on the back section. The enclosure is a planted vivarium set up and has pothos, umbrella plant, sansevieria, and a cryptanthus. I have a small water bowl and may switch to a little larger one. Water once a week and spray nightly.
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Old 01-20-21, 06:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source for crested gecko?

Update: temp in the corner where bulb is went up from 67 (after misting)-73. The thermometer is right up in the same corner.

Also the bulb is much more of a light purple than blue. Now I’m wondering if this is disruptive as it doesn't seem to close to moonlight.
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Old 01-21-21, 08:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source for crested gecko?

I currently have four crested geckos, a ~15 year old female, her son (12), and two of her grandsons (9). I keep my geckos at around 70 in the winter and 76 in the summer; they do well at those temperatures.

The one really strong guideline for temperatures for crested geckos is to not let them get warmer than 80; sustained temperatures above that mark can cause neurological damage or death to geckos. You are correct that the general target temperature that you should be after is between 70 and 80.

That said, that it not the only way to keep crested geckos. You can keep them in enclosures with cool sides of 70 and a daytime basking spot that provides a surface temperature of around 85. Back when I bred crested geckos I kept my geckos in such a setup.

For your situation I would suggest only providing the additional heat source during the day. You could also use an under tank heater to raise temperature and humidity by heating water in a damp substrate.
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Old 01-22-21, 03:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source for crested gecko?

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I currently have four crested geckos, a ~15 year old female, her son (12), and two of her grandsons (9). I keep my geckos at around 70 in the winter and 76 in the summer; they do well at those temperatures.

The one really strong guideline for temperatures for crested geckos is to not let them get warmer than 80; sustained temperatures above that mark can cause neurological damage or death to geckos. You are correct that the general target temperature that you should be after is between 70 and 80.

That said, that it not the only way to keep crested geckos. You can keep them in enclosures with cool sides of 70 and a daytime basking spot that provides a surface temperature of around 85. Back when I bred crested geckos I kept my geckos in such a setup.

For your situation I would suggest only providing the additional heat source during the day. You could also use an under tank heater to raise temperature and humidity by heating water in a damp substrate.
Only during the day? So you donít think low to mid 60s is bad during the night?

I have been running the moonlight bulb 24hrs a day for the last couple days. It has given me 74 in the upper back corner at night and 76 during the day. During the day I have a exoterra grow bulb that gives off a little heat, but not as much as the moonlight. He typically sleeps under it in this rats nest of umbrella plant overgrowth.

I wasnít sure about undertank heat with how it would work with the soil/drainage layer.

C6D18F2C-6162-400A-B0B3-762608E074C5.jpeg
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Old 01-22-21, 03:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source for crested gecko?

I dont keep cresties (have only ever had one but they arent for me) but I do have a leachie and chameleon geckos which both come from New Caledonia and both do not get heat at night. In fact none of my animals other than the ones that are in racks get extra heat at night. My house drops to high maybe mid 60s at times. Or else i turn the heater on. I'm in so cal so i dont like cold lol.
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Old 01-22-21, 08:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source for crested gecko?

A night drop into the mid 60s will be fine. The geckos do better with cold temperatures than warm ones.
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Old 01-23-21, 10:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source for crested gecko?

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I dont keep cresties (have only ever had one but they arent for me) but I do have a leachie and chameleon geckos which both come from New Caledonia and both do not get heat at night. In fact none of my animals other than the ones that are in racks get extra heat at night. My house drops to high maybe mid 60s at times. Or else i turn the heater on. I'm in so cal so i dont like cold lol.
Well I have winters lol and I canít sleep if itís not cool at night.
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Old 01-23-21, 10:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source for crested gecko?

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A night drop into the mid 60s will be fine. The geckos do better with cold temperatures than warm ones.
Outside Trico’s vivarium is usually low to mid 60s this time of year for winter. So if it drops to 62-64 at night, are you saying that would be better for him than a basking spot of mid 70s and prob a bit of temp variance throughout the enclosure?

Let me explain why I have been trying to adjust his environment. He has been living for 7 years with occasional shed issues. I havent used a heat source, because I had been under the impression that they were stressful and dangerous. So it has been like you said in the low to mid 60s at night and high 60s during the day, with a bit of basking under the grow bulb.

If I increase the humidity (to help with shed issues) by spraying more, trico would sneeze. I assume because the increased humidity drops the feels like temp too low for him. So now I start reading into what temps they should be kept at and apparently lots of people now keep them at higher temps even into low 80s. I am worried to get that high as like you said anything too warm and he could have neurological issues and die.

I felt in order to increase the humidity I had to bring the temps up slightly and the lowest wattage non disruptive 24hr heat bulb I could find was this moonlight bulb. It has increased the temps around the hottest area 74(night) -76(day). He seems to like the moonlight bulb as last night I woke in the middle of the night to find him underneath it and now he has started sleeping during the day closer to it.

Am I completely wrong in my new approach? Should I revert back to what I was doing before and hope he doesn’t have breathing issues going forward with the increased humidity? I should mention that in order to increase humidity I have added the glass insert for the rear section of the ex terra screen top. I have switched to a slightly bigger water bowl. I have increased watering and misting amounts.

Last edited by arnoldosu1; 01-23-21 at 11:00 AM..
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Old 01-23-21, 12:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source for crested gecko?

I currently use a 13w exo terra natural light. Should I just up that to a 26w and return the moonlight bulb? Would that increase the temp enough over the 13w alone??
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Old 01-23-21, 09:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source for crested gecko?

Ok, you have a couple different problems to deal with.

To raise humidity I would recommend a substrate heater. You have a drainage layer, heating the water within it would easily raise humidity. Once upon a time I would have recommended the Hydor Hydrokable to do the job. It is a substrate heater designed for underwater use in aquariums. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be available any longer. As far as I can tell, reptile heat cables aren't necessarily safe to submerge in water. Given that, I'd recommend an under tank heater.

To help with heat and humidity you can cover part of the screen top with aluminum foil, glass, plexiglass, wood, etc. A home improvement store will cut the glass or plexiglass to size for you.

As for replacing your heat source, go with a ceramic heat emitter. They sell 25 watt and 40 watt versions, when used with a thermostat either should work okay. A CHE can be run 24 hours without interrupting the day/night cycle for the gecko.
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Old 01-24-21, 04:30 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source for crested gecko?

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Originally Posted by chairman View Post
Ok, you have a couple different problems to deal with.

To raise humidity I would recommend a substrate heater. You have a drainage layer, heating the water within it would easily raise humidity. Once upon a time I would have recommended the Hydor Hydrokable to do the job. It is a substrate heater designed for underwater use in aquariums. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be available any longer. As far as I can tell, reptile heat cables aren't necessarily safe to submerge in water. Given that, I'd recommend an under tank heater.

To help with heat and humidity you can cover part of the screen top with aluminum foil, glass, plexiglass, wood, etc. A home improvement store will cut the glass or plexiglass to size for you.

As for replacing your heat source, go with a ceramic heat emitter. They sell 25 watt and 40 watt versions, when used with a thermostat either should work okay. A CHE can be run 24 hours without interrupting the day/night cycle for the gecko.
Thanks for your help! I do as of recently have half of the screen top covered with glass. I didnít realize home improvement stores would cut custom sizes though. That is good to know! Will prob do that for another project.

As for heat I will see if my new 26w natural light will effectively raise the temp enough over the 13w during the day. Iíve also been running the apartment heat a little more than usual. Will adjust things accordingly.

I was too worried about overheating him with the heat bulb, so I am returning it. The idea of increasing humidity from heating the substrate is genius! I may look into that if Iím still having trouble with temps/humidity. How much would you think a small heat pad would increase heat/humidity?
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Old 01-24-21, 10:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source for crested gecko?

The screen top will allow humidity to escape and the heat bulb will dry out the air. I'm not sure that I could predict how much the substrate heater would raise humidity in your situation. In a past setup I used a heat cable to raise the humidity in an enclosure by about 20% or so.

The nice thing about under tank heaters is that they do very little to raise cage temperatures. Combined with having a male gecko that is highly unlikely to burrow, a heat pad should be a fairly low risk addition, even if controlled by a rheostat.
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Old 01-25-21, 10:06 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source for crested gecko?

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Originally Posted by chairman View Post
The screen top will allow humidity to escape and the heat bulb will dry out the air. I'm not sure that I could predict how much the substrate heater would raise humidity in your situation. In a past setup I used a heat cable to raise the humidity in an enclosure by about 20% or so.

The nice thing about under tank heaters is that they do very little to raise cage temperatures. Combined with having a male gecko that is highly unlikely to burrow, a heat pad should be a fairly low risk addition, even if controlled by a rheostat.
Wow really? That seems like a good solution, if I still have issues going forward with humidity. The half glassed off screen top is making a difference. This morning after a watering and misting last nigh around 7 or 8, there was water on some leaves and slight condensation on the glass. Temp has been about 67-68 at night and 70-71 during the day (prob a bit warmer under the bulb). It only really drops lower when the temps outside get under 20s. Not sure there is much of a difference going from the 13w to 26w natural light. It doesnít even seem to be much brighter. I now wonder if it is 100% operational.

I will note that I havenít gotten a hygrometer for in the enclosure as reading reviews has me thinking that none of them can be trusted. I use an indoor/outdoor thermometer/hygrometer combo, with a temperature probe that goes in the enclosure. I will prob buy the exoterra hygrometer and hope for the best to more accurately measure the humidity, but I have definitely increased it.
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Old 01-25-21, 10:15 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source for crested gecko?

5FC661F0-604F-4E80-86EF-4994BB93968E.jpeg

You can hopefully see Trico basking under the light and also the condensation on the glass. We really need to be alike to post larger photo files on here lol.
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