crested-gecko-lighting

Crested Gecko Lighting – Complete Guide for Beginners

One of the best things about crested geckos is that they thrive at room temperature. They don’t need any special lighting and heating as long as you are not living in a chilly area or want to grow real plants in the terrarium.

Understanding Crested Geckos Natural Habitat

For us to understand the lighting requirements of created geckos we need to first understand their natural habitat.

New Caledonia, a tropical paradise in the South Pacific, is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, including our charming crested geckos. The island is characterized by a warm tropical climate, with temperatures typically ranging from 20°C (68°F) to 28°C (82°F) year-round.

The island experiences a well-defined rainy season from November to April, during which the humidity level can reach up to 80%.

The natural landscape of New Caledonia is predominantly covered by dense rainforests, with rich vegetation that provides ample hiding spots and climbing opportunities for crested geckos. Here, our nocturnal friends spend most of their days hidden among the leaves, coming out at night to hunt for insects and feast on ripe fruit.

The lighting conditions in these forests are varied, with areas of dappled sunlight filtering through the canopy, contrasting with deep shade in the undergrowth.

Now, how does this tropical habitat translate to your crested gecko’s lighting needs in your home? Well, by understanding their natural environment, we can better replicate these conditions to keep our pets comfortable and healthy.

Crested geckos are adapted to the lower light levels of the forest undergrowth, which means they do not require intense, direct lighting.

In fact, too much bright light can stress them out. Instead, aim for a setup that mimics the dappled sunlight of their natural habitat.

The temperatures in your crested gecko’s enclosure should reflect those of their natural habitat, with a range of 22°C (72°F) to 28°C (82°F) being ideal.

Remember, these creatures are not adapted to extreme heat, and temperatures above 30°C (86°F) can be harmful.

And let’s not forget about the natural day-night cycle. Crested geckos are nocturnal, meaning they are most active during the night. So, make sure to turn off the lights in their enclosure at night, giving them the dark period they need for their normal activity.

The Importance of Proper Lighting

Now, when I first started caring for crested geckos, I thought, “Lighting can’t be that important, right?” Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Over time, with some research and experience, I came to realize that lighting plays a vital role in the health, behavior, and lifespan of these fascinating creatures.

Sleep-wake Cycle: Appropriate lighting helps regulate their sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. Just like us, crested geckos need a balance of light and darkness to maintain this rhythm. Disruptions can lead to stress and health issues – something we all want to avoid!

Behavior: Here’s where my personal experience comes in. I remember my gecko, Luna, being somewhat lethargic when I first set up her terrarium. After adjusting the lighting, it was like a switch flipped! Luna became more active and alert, her natural behavior shining through. That’s because proper lighting encourages natural behaviors like foraging and exploring. It’s truly a delight to see!

Lifespan: While there’s no definitive research linking lighting directly to a crested gecko’s lifespan, we do know that a healthy gecko is likely to live longer. And since lighting contributes to overall health – well, you do the math!

Types of Lighting for Crested Geckos

If you’re a new crested gecko parent, understanding the different types of lighting available for your scaly friend can be a little overwhelming. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! But I promise, once you’ve gotten a grasp of the basics, it’s not as daunting as it seems.

1. UVB Lights

UVB lighting used to be considered an optional extra for crested geckos but we now know a lot more about the species and their natural habitat and understand that it should always be provided.

UVB emits ultraviolet B light, a type of light that’s necessary for these little critters to produce vitamin D3. This vitamin is a must-have for their bodies to absorb and utilize calcium properly, keeping their bones healthy and strong.

However, there’s a small catch. Crested geckos, being nocturnal, are not exposed to much UVB light in the wild. So, while a low-level UVB bulb can be beneficial, it’s not strictly necessary if you’re supplementing their diet with the right vitamins and minerals.

Remember, every gecko is unique, so it’s all about finding the balance that works for your scaly buddy!

2. UVA Lights

UVA light plays a critical role in promoting natural behaviors in reptiles, like feeding, breeding, and basking. While crested geckos don’t bask like some reptiles, maintaining a natural light cycle with UVA light can help mimic their natural environment and keep them happy and active.

3. Infrared Lights

Infrared lights are another option you might come across. They’re often marketed as a heat source that can be used throughout the night without disturbing your gecko’s sleep. But here’s a tip from a fellow gecko enthusiast: crested geckos don’t typically need extra heating at night as long as the temperature doesn’t drop too low.

And, contrary to popular belief, they can detect the red glow from these lights. So, it’s usually best to give the infrared light a pass for these guys.

4. LED Lights

Lastly, there’s the option of LED lights. These lights don’t offer any particular health benefits like UVB or UVA lights, but they’re excellent for illuminating your crested gecko’s enclosure, making it a vibrant focal point in your room.

Just ensure the light isn’t too bright and stressful for your gecko. After all, their comfort is key!

Setting Up Your Crested Gecko’s Lighting

For the crested gecko lighting setup we will use two types of bulbs i.e. UVB and LED bulbs.

Step 1: Choosing the Right Bulbs

Your crested gecko’s habitat should mimic their natural environment as closely as possible, and that starts with the light bulb.

We recommend a low-intensity UVB bulb (around 5%) and it should be left on for about 4-6 hours a day to simulate a natural day/night cycle.

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Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 Mini Compact Fluorescent Lamp, 13 Watts
  • Perfect for all tropical species of reptiles and amphibians
  • Long-lasting, full spectrum bulbs tropical environments
  • Uses a special UVB transmitting quartz glass for maximum UVB penetration
  • Can be oriented either vertically or horizontally

We also recommend using a fluorescent or LED bulb that doesn’t emit heat. Crested geckos are nocturnal creatures, so they don’t need basking lights like some other reptiles. Remember, it’s all about creating a comfy home for them!

Exo Terra Repti-Glo 2.0 Compact Fluorescent Full Spectrum Terrarium Lamp, 13-Watt (Natural Light)
  • A full spectrum daylight bulb with a very high visual light output.
  • The high light output makes this bulb suitable for planted terrariums and it is ideal for animals with lower UV requirements.

Step 2: Setting Up the Lights

Now that you’ve got your light bulb, the next step is setting it up in your terrarium. The light should be placed at the top of the terrarium to simulate the natural light from the sun. If you have a larger terrarium, you might need more than one light to ensure the entire space is well-lit.

Step 3: Duration to Turn on Each Bulb

UVB Light: In the wild, crested geckos would get exposure to UVB indirectly, such as from the light filtering through leaves or bouncing off surfaces.That is why we recommend turning on the UVB lights for a short amount of time, for about 4 to 6 hours per day.

LED Light: Crested geckos, like us, have a circadian rhythm, which means they follow a day-night cycle. To replicate this, your lights should be on for about 12 hours a day and off for the remaining 12 hours. A simple way to manage this is by using a timer for your lights. Trust me, it’s a lifesaver!

Step 4: Safety First

While setting up the lights, safety should be your top priority. Ensure the lights are securely fixed and can’t fall into the terrarium. Also, the lights should never come into contact with anything flammable, like paper or leaves.

And, remember that the bulb should not emit heat, as crested geckos are sensitive to high temperatures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do crested geckos need UVB light?

Yes, while crested geckos can survive without UVB light, providing a source of UVB can significantly improve their health and wellbeing. UVB light aids in the synthesis of vitamin D3, which helps in calcium absorption. It’s important to regulate UVB exposure though, as excessive UVB can harm your gecko.

Can I use a regular light bulb for my crested gecko?

While you can use a regular light bulb for illumination, it won’t provide the UVB light your crested gecko needs for optimal health. Moreover, the heat output of regular light bulbs can vary, and too much heat can cause harm. So, it’s always best to use a bulb designed for reptile enclosures.

How long should the lights be on in my crested gecko’s enclosure?

Crested geckos are nocturnal, so they’re most active at night. Therefore, you should aim to mimic natural light cycles in their enclosure. This generally means 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Remember to adjust the light cycle according to the season to simulate a natural environment.

Can too much light harm my crested gecko?

Yes, too much light can be harmful to your crested gecko. Prolonged exposure to bright light can cause stress, while excessive UVB light can lead to health problems. Also, too much heat from a light source can cause overheating.

Do crested geckos need a night light?

Crested geckos don’t need a night light, and it’s best to give them a period of total darkness to mimic their natural habitat. If you need to observe your gecko at night, consider using a very low-wattage blue or red light.

What type of light bulb is best for my crested gecko?

Look for a bulb that provides appropriate levels of heat and UVB light without being overly bright. It’s often recommended to use a bulb specifically designed for reptile care. For example, a low wattage (around 5-6%) UVB bulb can be a good choice. Always make sure the bulb is positioned in a way that your gecko can’t touch it to prevent burns.

Can I use natural sunlight instead of artificial lights?

While natural sunlight is the best source of UVB, it’s challenging to regulate in an indoor setup. Direct sunlight can quickly overheat your gecko’s enclosure, leading to dangerous conditions. So, while occasional exposure to natural sunlight can be beneficial, it shouldn’t be the primary source of light.

Conclusion

In our journey through the world of crested gecko lighting, we’ve illuminated some key points that truly spotlight the importance of this topic. Proper lighting isn’t just for show; it’s a vital part of your gecko’s health and behavior. An ideal lighting setup can make the difference between your crested gecko merely surviving and truly thriving.

We’ve ventured through the different types of lighting suitable for crested geckos, from UVB lights that help with vitamin D synthesis to heat lamps that regulate their temperature. Remember, the best lighting setup for your crested gecko often involves a combination of these lights, striking a balance that perfectly replicates their natural habitat.

And speaking of setups, we’ve shared some practical steps and tips on how to set up lighting in your crested gecko’s terrarium. From positioning the lights to managing the photoperiod, each detail plays a part in creating a comfortable and healthy home for your gecko.

Filled under: Lizards

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