Leopard Gecko Care


New Member
Hello, in this thread I will tell you how to properly care for a leopard gecko.

A list of what you need for your gecko:
  • 10 gallon or larger enclosure
  • A solid substrate
  • Under tank heater
  • Thermostat
  • Three hides
  • Food dish
  • Water dish
  • Calcium dish
  • Calcium with D3
  • Calcium without D3
  • Lizard multivitamin
  • Insects

Leopard geckos are terrestrial, so the enclosure needs more floor space than height. You can house one leopard gecko in a 10 gallon tank, however, a 15 to 20 gallon tank is ideal. Today, many people want to house leopard geckos together. In my opinion, there are too many risks!

Substrate (the flooring of the enclosure)
I do not recommend loose substrates such as Sand, Calcium Sand, Vita-Sand, Bark, Aspen, and Gravel. These substrates cause impaction, the blockage of the digestive tract, which can be fatal. Safe substrates include paper towels, newspaper, reptile carpet, or tile.

I do not recommend heat sources such as heat lamps or heat rocks. Leopard geckos only need heat pads. Heat pads can get too hot, so a thermostat is needed to control the temperature. The warm side (where the heat pad is at) should be 90-94° Fahrenheit. The cool side (where the heat pad is not at) should be 75-78° Fahrenheit. You can measure the temperatures with a temperature gun or two digital thermometers with probes. Note: You need to measure the floor temperature, not the air temperature.

You need at least two hides per gecko: a reptile hide and a humid hide. Humid hides, or moist hides, are extremely important. Without them, leopard geckos cannot properly shed their skin.

You can feed many different types of insects, such as mealworms, crickets, superworms, etc. Do not feed wild caught insects because they carry parasites.

Gutloading is the process of feeding the insects a healthy meal 12 to 24 hours before you feed them to the gecko. I use apples, strawberries, carrots, and quaker oats.

Provide a shallow dish of fresh, clean water. Change the water daily.

You need three supplements: calcium with D3, calcium without D3, and a lizard multivitamin. Have a dish of calcium without D3 in the enclosure at all times. Coat the insects in calcium with D3 and a lizard multivitamin once or twice a week.

Spot clean daily. Clean the food and water dish daily. Once a week, replace the substrate. Once a month, disinfect everything.

Provide a humid hide so the gecko can shed properly. Mist the humid hide daily.


New Member
I agree with almost all of this, except a couple of things:

I keep my leos on Eco Earth, which is relatively digestible in small amounts. I also tong feed the majority of their food, so the risk of impaction is low. Having loose substrate allows them to dig and mold their enclosure how they want, and provides some enrichment. Both of my geckos take advantage if this. Obviously, sand, mulch, wood chips, and gravel are never okay.

Also, my geckos both use lights as a daytime heat source, and they both enjoy sleeping out in the open, under the "Sun." Of course, that doesn't account for night heat, so you can't exclusively use lights. Heat mats are a more cost-effective option.

I probably don't have nearly as much experience as the original author of this post, but the two geckos I have are happy and healthy in their current environments. A lot of care can be put on a case-by-case basis, depending on the gecko. They all have their preferences.


Staff member
Somerville, MA
There are a number of different ways to do things. I think the care sheet post highlights the most common, but others have used eco earth and overhead lights. Some leopard geckos are more likely to bask than others. With the lights I would just say that people should be careful that the heat output isn't overheating the air in the enclosure and that there is enough time that the enclosure is warm enough to facilitate digestion.



New Member
Aliza –
Totally agree. All geckos are different, and all setups are different, and it depends on what your conditions are.


Staff member
Southern California
Yeah it's important to point out that a care sheet is a starting point and by no means accommodates every possible scenario.

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