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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A local plant shop has a pet leopard gecko in THE most amazing terrarium ever and I want to model mine just like it. Have a look:
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Plant Azure Green Wood Rectangle

The employee has a degree in plants (idk what it’s called but she can name the scientific name for every plant you show her.)
She showed me what she uses for the substrate and it is called Coco Coir.

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She said she also mixed some calci sand in there and the leaves you see on the top are (idk the name she told me but the leaves are real). She even has put pillbugs, aka isopods, in there. It’s a whole ecosystem.
I think I will do my tank the same way because my leopard gecko has repticarpet and someone in another thread told me to switch to loose substrate.
My question is, is calci sand good or bad? I’ve heard it’s not even sand and won’t impact your reptile but other sources say calci sand will indeed impact your reptile and I have seen videos on both ends. One of them showed an autopsy picture of a gecko where its stomach was full of sand Calci Sand:
REALLY The Worst Substrate? - Why Calci Sand Doesn't Cause Impaction by JTB Reptiles on YouTube
Complete Guide to Leopard Gecko Substrates by Leopard Gecko on YouTube
This is a hot topic. I’m on the fence.
I welcome advice and civil discussion in the replies. Thanks!
 

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A local plant shop has a pet leopard gecko in THE most amazing terrarium ever and I want to model mine just like it. Have a look:
View attachment 365998
View attachment 365999
The employee has a degree in plants (idk what it’s called but she can name the scientific name for every plant you show her.)
She showed me what she uses for the substrate and it is called Coco Coir.

View attachment 366000

She said she also mixed some calci sand in there and the leaves you see on the top are (idk the name she told me but the leaves are real). She even has put pillbugs, aka isopods, in there. It’s a whole ecosystem.
I think I will do my tank the same way because my leopard gecko has repticarpet and someone in another thread told me to switch to loose substrate.
My question is, is calci sand good or bad? I’ve heard it’s not even sand and won’t impact your reptile but other sources say calci sand will indeed impact your reptile and I have seen videos on both ends. One of them showed an autopsy picture of a gecko where its stomach was full of sand Calci Sand:
REALLY The Worst Substrate? - Why Calci Sand Doesn't Cause Impaction by JTB Reptiles on YouTube
Complete Guide to Leopard Gecko Substrates by Leopard Gecko on YouTube
This is a hot topic. I’m on the fence.
I welcome advice and civil discussion in the replies. Thanks!
Don't use calci sand, avoid it at all costs! It can & does cause impaction as it partially dissolves in the lizards' gut & clumps. Use play sand, mixed with dry soil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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I got it on a cart and I’m going to see about having it delivered
By the way, almost every bag of play sand was ripped open at the seam where they “sealed” it. Do they want to maybe idk do a better job of packaging it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Day 2 of the new substrate. His “rock” hide has a frick ton of humidity gathered on the inside of it. The heat pad is on the outside of the tank and it is underneath his rock hide. Of course, I stuck it to the exterior side of the bottom panel.
Wondering if I did the right thing by propping the hide against the log hide to give more air flow.
I can’t imagine my gecko likes the hot humidity in his hide. I did see he slept through the night in there.
 

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Day 2 of the new substrate. His “rock” hide has a frick ton of humidity gathered on the inside of it. The heat pad is on the outside of the tank and it is underneath his rock hide. Of course, I stuck it to the exterior side of the bottom panel.
Wondering if I did the right thing by propping the hide against the log hide to give more air flow.
I can’t imagine my gecko likes the hot humidity in his hide. I did see he slept through the night in there.
Hi, you need to use a heat bulb to create a basking area rather than a heat pad.
How big is the enclosure in inches or cm, and what type and brand is the (UVB?) tube?
If the conditions are supportive any bits of ingested substrate should pass through without any problem.
 

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A lot more, and more natural, hardscape would be beneficial. Cork rounds and half rounds work well for both hides and climbable surfaces. Hides should at the absolute minimum should include two warm hides (one moist, one dry) and two cool side hides (one moist, one dry).

I agree about the heat mat being insufficient by itself. It can be used (on a thermostat, of course), but a heat lamp or much better a radiant heat panel (also on its own thermostat) should be used to create a temp gradient from about 95F on the hot spot to the high 70s on the other end. Glass vivs are a challenge to create decent thermal gradients in.

Since leos can maintain D3 levels on dietary supplements alone (source), I wouldn't recommend complicating things with UVB. Repashy Calcium Plus is a good supplement to use (on all prey, every feeding), and most others are not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Oh I have a ceramic heater as well as a UVB tube light.
He has his own calcium dish (the bowl with a fake cactus on it) and I have seen him licking and even chomping the calcium powder I put in there.
tank is 18 inches X 34 inches
I will attach a pic of the Pro T5 UVB kit.
I also try to take him outside in the sun sometimes to get some sun. I take him for “walks” as he sits on my shoulder or hand.

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Simple calcium powder isn't sufficient. Leos need at least calcium, vitamin D3 (unless there is some study that has conclusively found that the species can manufacture sufficient D3 from UV alone) Vitamin A (extremely important), Vitamin E, and B complex. This needs to be dusted, not put in a bowl, since multivitamin powder can be and has caused hypervitaminosis when offered free choice.
 

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A lot more, and more natural, hardscape would be beneficial. Cork rounds and half rounds work well for both hides and climbable surfaces. Hides should at the absolute minimum should include two warm hides (one moist, one dry) and two cool side hides (one moist, one dry).

I agree about the heat mat being insufficient by itself. It can be used (on a thermostat, of course), but a heat lamp or much better a radiant heat panel (also on its own thermostat) should be used to create a temp gradient from about 95F on the hot spot to the high 70s on the other end. Glass vivs are a challenge to create decent thermal gradients in.

Since leos can maintain D3 levels on dietary supplements alone (source), I wouldn't recommend complicating things with UVB. Repashy Calcium Plus is a good supplement to use (on all prey, every feeding), and most others are not.
Hi, can you tell the OP exactly how much supplementary D3 is needed, also, how is offering UVB via a fluorescent tube "complicating things", when they are known to bask in early morning sunlight in the wild (maybe you can suggest a way to turn the sun off to stop them using it for whatever reason/s they do)?
Supplementary D3 can also be overdosed..
 

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The D3 in Repashy Calcium Plus is sufficient when used according to label directions.

I'll avoid the snark in the last part, but my point is that leos can thrive in captivity without it -- that is, more simply -- so adding cost, labor, and cognitive load to animal care without a clear need for doing so isn't the best way. That's all.

I realize I'm new here. I'll post an introduction in the proper place like I should have done earlier. :)
 

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The D3 in Repashy Calcium Plus is sufficient when used according to label directions.

I'll avoid the snark in the last part, but my point is that leos can thrive in captivity without it -- that is, more simply -- so adding cost, labor, and cognitive load to animal care without a clear need for doing so isn't the best way. That's all.

I realize I'm new here. I'll post an introduction in the proper place like I should have done earlier. :)
You did read the part that stated animals provided with UVB exposure had higher blood serum levels (30%) I don`t know what the usual average figures are in wild specimens, do you have that information, if yes, can you share it with us?
In some aspects the study was not complete, we need more research doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I didn’t mean to start an argument, guys.
I do dust the crickets. Perhaps I should mix some Reptivite in the powder dish to give him more variety of vitamins in there?
 

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I didn’t mean to start an argument, guys.
I didn't either. Sorry my recommendation got this into the weeds.

Reptivite is an acceptable supplement, but feeding vitamins free choice can and has led to overdoses, as I mentioned. While it may be true that leos can self regulate calcium intake from a dish, they cannot regulate the amount of multivitamin they take in.

If you're dusting all the prey with Reptivite at every feeding, then your leo is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs. The plain calcium dish in the viv in addition to proper dusting is fine, too.
 

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I dust the crickets with the calcium, not the Reptivite.
The leo needs every prey item dusted with a full spectrum multivitamin supplement (such as Reptivite) at every feeding.

Insectivores kept under UVB with only calcium supplementation (which I've seen a handful of lately) develop hypovitaminosis A usually within a couple (younger animals) to a handful (adults) of months. Hypovitaminois A is a deficiency of Vitamin A; virtually all captive raised feeder insects contain almost no Vitamin A, so they have to be supplemented. Since most insectivores cannot or cannot efficiently or are not known to convert carotenoids ("beta-carotene") into Vitamin A, "gutloading" with fresh fruits and vegetables isn't adequate (another currently common practice).
 
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