Crested geckos are one of the easiest type of geckos to keep in captivity. Four important factors should be considered when setting up your new tank.
Crested geckos are arboreal creatures meaning they prefer height rather than surface area. Many stores sell tanks that are tailored to the arboreal geckos and work very well. Be aware of the size of your tank and the size of your gecko. You wouldn’t want to be kept in a box and neither do they. These animals love to jump and climb so they need plenty of room to roam! A ten gallon tank turned on its side is appropriate for a juvenile, but should be replaced with a larger one once the gecko gets older. It is important to use a screen lid for the enclosure to ensure adequate ventilation.
Crested Geckos should be kept at a temperature range of 72 degrees Fahrenheit to 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and can go as low as 69 degrees Fahrenheit to 74 degrees Fahrenheit at night. By using different heat lamps, you can achieve the correct heat and lighting for day and night. Under-tank heaters and hot rocks are strongly not recommended.
As you can imagine, a rain-forest has relatively high humidity at all times. By misting the enclosure and foliage multiple times a day you not only maintain humidity but also provide a source of drinking water for your gecko. Gecko’s cannot see still water and rely on dew drops and rain for their water. Another way to maintain humidity in the enclosure is to set up a constantly running source of water. We use a small Tupperware container filled with water with a fish tank air stone and air pump in it. If using this method, be sure to put a lid on top of it with many large holes cut out so that plenty of water can get out but your gecko won’t fall in!
Most of the gecko’s natural habitat consists of leaves and trees. Provide your gecko with lots of vines to climb on and logs to hide in. The more climbing branches and hiding places made available, the happier and healthier your gecko will be. Make sure to place hiding spots at both the top and the bottom of the tank so that the geckos can regulate their body temperature accordingly. Gecko’s also seem to have a particular fondness for plants. Fake plants can be used, but live plants are a better choice as they are a great way to increase humidity and achieve a more natural environment. The most common types of plants used in reptile cages are Ficus or Pothos. Both types of plants do very well in the humidity and lighting that geckos require. The substrate that we use is paper towels. Dirt substrate is usually recommended by other crested gecko keepers as it hold humidity well. However we find that if we use the realistic dirt substrate, the gecko’s receive mouthfuls of it when going after their crickets (feeding in a separate container helps to prevent this). Dirt substrate also tends to grow mold (which can be disastrous to your geckos health) and is difficult to clean. We use paper towels as they are super easy to clean up and your gecko won’t be able to tell the difference!