Crested Gecko Starter Buying Guide
Prepared by HappyDragons
Everything you need for a basic crested gecko habitat! Our Starter Guides are focused on the baseline necessities to care for your pet, making them more affordable and ideal for first-time keepers. We also offer a Deluxe Guide if you want to go the extra mile. Be sure to check out our Crested Gecko Care Guide for more information on how to set up your enclosure and keep your gecko happy and healthy!
A crested gecko enclosure should be tall enough to allow for a proper thermoregulatory gradient and have opaque or covered sides to reduce stress. We recommend a starter minimum 18”x18”x36” terrarium with a background or a 2’x2’x2’ PVC enclosure.
Substrate should be loose, soft, highly moisture retentive, and at least 2-4” deep for stable humidity levels. We recommend at least 20 quarts (2 bags) of Josh's Frogs Coco Select, which is a blend of coco husk, peat moss, and bark.
Heat & Lighting
A crested gecko enclosure should have an overhead heat source, an appropriate UVB lamp, and tools to monitor and control these elements.
Every crestie setup should have a lower-wattage incandescent (40w) or halogen flood (35w) bulb to maintain the ideal temperature range and provide basking heat. This works best when paired with a reflective fixture hood. (To automatically maintain safe temps, you can also plug your heat lamp into a thermostat)
A 5-7% UVB T5 HO linear fluorescent lamp is perfect for crepuscular species like crested geckos. The Arcadia ShadeDweller kit should be placed directly on top of your enclosure's screen lid with the primary basking area at 8-12” below the lamp to achieve the necessary UVI for your gecko's best health.
Monitoring & Regulation
- 2 Gauges: Place one thermometer/hygrometer near the top and one near the bottom to monitor the necessary warm-to-cool temperature gradient.
- Timer: All reptiles should have a healthy circadian schedule: heat and UVB turned on during the day, then everything turned off at night to allow for total darkness and a natural temperature drop (~12hrs/day). This can be best achieved using a simple outlet timer.
Decor & Enrichment
Crested geckos require a variety of specific decor items that are vital for security, health, and enrichment.
Branches & Vines
Crested geckos are arboreal and love to jump, so a vertical climbing scape is essential. Branches, vines, cork, and bamboo are all excellent options. We recommend providing at least 1 large branch and 1 climbing vine for a starter setup, but feel free to add more!
Artificial plants are easy to maintain, while still providing necessary cover for security, UV + heat regulation, additional climbing opportunities, and accumulation of water droplets for your gecko to drink. We recommend choosing at least 3 plants for your enclosure.
Tools & Feeding
A complete crested gecko starter setup should have:
- Pump mister for humidity and hydration
- Feeding ledge for easy access to food
- 1 ounce food cups for feeding ledge
- Bite-safe tongs for live insect feeders
- Calcium without D3 for dusting feeders
- Crested gecko diet powders
Choose at least 2 crested gecko diets to start. It's best to offer a variety of flavors for sensory enrichment and to keep your gecko interested in eating.
Crested Gecko Setup Examples
18"x18"x24" - Contributed by Alina E.