Best Crested Gecko Enclosure – A Tank, Cage or Terrarium?

What is the difference? What is the best option for a crested gecko? Does my cage need a light? What size does it need to be?

Setting up the perfect habitat for your reptile starts with choosing the right equipment to start. As a beginner pet this is a great choice as these types of lizards tend to be low maintenance!

Which One Do I Choose?

What is the difference, and which one do I choose? There are many different options to choose from, but a few can spell disaster for your little friend.

A few things to note about these many different types of habitats, is that a cage is typically made out of bars, or wire in which animals can be confined.

A tank is normally defined as a rectangle enclosure made of glass so you can see you plants and or animals such as fish etc. also known as an aquarium.

A small reptileFinally, a terrarium is very similar to an aquarium but is not built to hold water making it the ideal choice for a crested gecko.

The ideal size of a gecko setup depends on the age of the gecko. Baby geckos obviously need less space, so they are best housed in large plastic terrariums or in standard 10-gallon reptile tanks with a screen top.

An adult gecko being larger in size requires more space, so they should be housed in at least a 20-gallon tank with a screen top.

The bigger the enclosure the better! Not only does this allow for more room for the adult gecko but it also allows for a better display for the geckos.

Crested geckos are active and need a lot of climbing space, a taller tank is preferred.

Customized Terrariums

Another great option that most people prefer is building their own enclosure. This allows you to design and build your own one of a kind habitat.

If you do choose to build your own home, please ensure that you are using non-toxic materials for your gecko.

You should also ensure there are no sharp edges, ventilation, and that the holes are not big enough for your pet to escape.

Does It Matter Where I Put The Cage?

The placement of your gecko habitat is fairly important.

In areas with moderate to high humidity, the crested gecko will do well in a screen cage while in lower humidity areas they may require more of an enclosed habitat for the humidity between 50 – 70 % to keep.

If you are in an area where this is hard to maintain there are many options for terrarium misters. I suggest getting a relative humidity gauge for your pet habitat!

Should I Put Anything at the Bottom of the Cage? If So What?

A Small reptileYes! There should definitely be some padding at the bottom of your gecko’s cage. The name for this type of padding is substrate.

The substrate should be something that holds onto moisture to help in maintaining the terrariums moisture levels. A few options for this is coconut fiber, pea gravel, moss and even paper towels can be used!

It is important to note that crested geckos tend to consume substrate while hunting their food, if you notice your gecko exhibiting this behavior it is best to switch your substrate to moss or paper towels either alone or over your current substrate.

Please note that it is not a good idea to use commercial plant soils or sands as they may contain fertilizer or pesticides. Click here for a few great options for substrate.

Does My Terrarium Need A Light?

While it is not absolutely necessary, some experts say that low levels of a UVB light can be beneficial to the overall health of your gecko.

Crested Geckos are nocturnal and not very active during the day, so lighting is not a necessity.

If you do choose to provide a light for your gecko, you have to ensure that this light is low level UVB so that your gecko does not overheat.

Do I Need to Provide Shelter?

Crested geckos do not tend to be animals that hide, but they do need something to climb up on and perch.

Providing your geckos with things to climb on is more important than somewhere to hide. Things like bendable décor, bamboo tubes, cork bark and driftwood are all great options.

Whatever you do choose for your pet make sure that there is no chance of it collapsing and harming your gecko.

How Often Do I Need to Clean The Terrarium?

One of the things that makes the crested gecko a great first pet is that they require very low amounts of maintenance.

Cage cleaning consists of cleaning and urine and feces from the cage approximately 3 to 4 times a week. The substrate from the entire cage should be removed and thrown out once every four to five months.

When this deep cleaning is performed it is a good time to deodorizer and remove any stains that may have appeared.

Do not forget about the accessories as well! If you choose paper towels as your substrate it is best to replace the paper towels at least once a week.

Fun Fact: Terrariums are vivarium’s. While most people refer to their animals’ home as a terrarium, the truth is when you add your little friend to the terrarium it becomes a vivarium.

Best Terrariums For Crested Geckos

1) Zilla Vertical Tropical Kit

While this terrarium is smaller in size it is the ideal habitat for one single crested gecko.

This enclosure is much taller than wide allowing a lot of space for climbing.

It features a hinged front door for an easy access into the cage and great security!

This option is also a kit and includes a Mini Halogen Dome with light bulb, and a relative humidity gauge.

2) Exo Terra Allglass Terrarium

This is another great option for a single little friend!

The terrarium is made out of glass with a great mesh top for proper ventilation and heat.

Since this tank is small it does give you a lot of option for where you can place it in your home!

It does come with inlets for tubing and wires in the situation that you may need misting and heating equipment.

A great option for a beginner.

3) Exo Terra Glass Terrarium Mayan

Here is another great option for your crested gecko. The dimensions are 18 X 18 X 24, providing your little friend with enough space for exploring and climbing!

This enclosure is ideal for one single gecko. With a single fixed lower panel there is plenty of room for substrate.

There is enough glass for you to mount glass décor and or a water feature!

Be very careful with these double door cages though, some people have noted their pet getting his/her tail caught in the opening and closing of the doors.

Extra Tips to Caring for Your Gecko

While geckos don’t need lots of water, we do recommend that you provide a small amount of water for them.  A shallow water dish like this one would work perfectly.

Most of the water consumed by your geckos will come from the water on the leaves in the terrarium so it is important to also mist your terrarium daily.

Male crested geckos can be very territorial with other males and fight, so they should not be kept together.

However, it is possible to house several female crested geckos with one male. Keep in mind that the more geckos you have in one terrarium the more care they need.

You will need to keep an eye on each gecko to ensure they are all getting enough food, water and heat. The more geckos in the same cage can cause higher stress levels, shortened lifespan etc.

Final Thoughts

A small reptileWe have established that crested geckos are very low maintenance and great for any first-time pet owner, but they do need special attention in specific areas.

Choosing the type of habitat to keep them in is fairly simple. Knowing that cages are typically made out of wire and bars, tanks are normally made for fish and reptiles that require more water leaves terrariums as the perfect option!

The size of the terrarium depends on the age of the terrarium but it is safe to start out with a 20 gallon tank if you do not want to switch the tank out when your gecko is fully grown.

Designing and building your own terrarium is a great option but there is a lot to keep in mind. Lights for these animals is not required as they are nocturnal, but substrate is!

These little guys do not need to hide but they sure do love to climb. Keep them happy with plenty to climb on!

Cleaning up after these little guys is a very simple task as long as you keep up with it in little bits weekly and do a good deep cleaning every four –  five months.

If you keep these things in mind you and your pet with be the best of friends!