Getting a crested gecko can be a daunting task because you’ll need to get a lot of different products for your crested gecko and you don’t want to forget something or pay too much. A good shopping list for your crested gecko can help you a lot with getting everything you need.
When you prepare for a crested gecko you’ll need to buy a lot of different stuff. Depending on the region you live in, getting the necessary products can be hard or easy. In countries where crested geckos are popular such as the United States or Canada, you usually don’t have problems finding the necessary products.
What Do You Need For a Crested Gecko?
To make it easier for you to get all the necessary products for your crested gecko, we’ve gathered everything in the following handy shopping list that contains everything you might need for your little crested gecko:
- transport cage/cleaning cage/temporary housing
- daylight and/or night-time bulbs (if necessary)
- heat bulbs (if necessary)
- digital thermometer/hygrometer
- pressurized spray bottle
- live or artificial plants, vines, and branches
- magnetic feeding ledge
- feeding cups
- water dish
- commercial crested gecko diet
- vitamins and supplements
- digital scale
- reptile-safe disinfectant
If you want to feed live insects you’ll also need to get insects, gut-loading foods, and dusting supplements.
Below you’ll find all products you’ll need and an estimated price. This price may vary depending on the region you’re in and is rather a guideline to give you an idea of the cost of a crested gecko. For a full breakdown of the cost of a crested gecko be sure to check out our more in-depth article.
|Pressurized spray bottle||$15|
|Magnetic feeding ledge||$20|
|Crested gecko diet||$25|
|Total (without cage for adult)||$465|
|Total (with cage for adult)||$665|
The vivarium, also called terrarium (I’ll be using this term from now on), is one of the essentials for keeping a crested gecko. Your crested gecko needs to have a house of its own where it can sleep during the day and explore during the night.
You should make a clear difference between young and small crested geckos and adult crested geckos. Below are the recommended sizes depending on weight:
- hatchlings and juveniles up to 10 grams: enclosure between 1.5 and 5 gallons
- juveniles between 10 and 25 grams: enclosure between 7 and 10 gallons
- adults more than 25 grams: enclosure of at least 20 gallons for one crested gecko or 30 gallons for pair of crested geckos.
It’s important to understand that there are different brands that sell terrariums that are suitable for crested geckos. You can even make your own.
Terrarium for hatchlings and small juveniles
When you get a baby or juvenile crested gecko you shouldn’t place it in a large terrarium. A terrarium can make it difficult for your baby or juvenile crested gecko to find its food and it will also make it more difficult for you to check up on your crested gecko.
For baby crested geckos (hatchlings) and juvenile crested geckos up to 10 grams I recommend getting a small container with air holes. Depending on the age and size of your crestie this container should be between 1.5 and 5 gallons.
For hatchlings and small juvenile crested geckos (up to 10 grams), I would definitely recommend the Exo Terra Faunarium. These come in different sizes suitable for small crested geckos. The small Faunarium is around 1.5 gallons and the largest Faunarium is around 5 gallons.
Pet stores also sell other brands of containers, mostly for transporting reptiles or fish, that are very similar. They usually are around the same prices. Just make sure that the chosen container is the right size.
An Exo Terra Faunarium or similar container will also come in handy later when your crested gecko is large enough for a real terrarium. It can be used to transport your crested gecko to the vet or to temporary house it while you’re cleaning the terrarium.
Terrarium for larger juveniles
As your crested gecko grows up it will need a real terrarium instead of a so-called critter keeper. Juvenile crested geckos between 10 and 25 grams can be kept in a small terrarium of 10 gallons. Since crested geckos love climbing you’ll need a vertical terrarium and most 10-gallon vertical terrariums have a size of 12″x12″x18″.
When you’re looking for a small terrarium you will have a few choices and I would recommend choosing one of the following:
- Exo Terra Mini Tall Terrarium (my personal preference)
- Zoo Med Naturalistic Terrarium
Both terrariums are 12″x12″x18″ and have front doors and good ventilation on top. It’s a glass terrarium so you will have little trouble keeping the humidity at ideal levels for a crested gecko.
Both terrariums are great for crested geckos and they’re actually very similar. While the Exo Terra Terrarium all have double front doors the Zoo Med Terrarium only has one. Having one door gives a clearer view in the terrarium but increases the risk of an escape when you open the door. If you want a full comparison I would recommend reading this article that compares both terrariums.
Terrarium for adult crested geckos
Adult crested geckos can be kept in a 20-gallon terrarium but a 30-gallon terrarium is even better. Since crested geckos love climbing you’ll need a vertical terrarium and most vertical terrariums suitable for adult crested geckos have a size of 18″x18″x24″.
When you’re looking for a large terrarium you will have a few choices and I would recommend choosing one of the following :
- Exo Terra Small Tall Terrarium (my personal preference)
- Zoo Med Naturalistic Terrarium
As I already mentioned, both are good terrariums but it might be possible that in your region one of the two is not available or comes at high shipping costs.
A transport cage is used to transport your crested gecko from one place to another, for example to the vet or from the store to your home. You can also use it to temporarily house your crested gecko while you’re cleaning the terrarium or as a habitat for young animals.
As I already mentioned above, I would definitely recommend the Exo Terra Faunarium. The largest Faunarium is around 5 gallons and is most suitable as a transport cage for juvenile and adult crested geckos.
Daylight and/or night-time bulbs
Crested geckos don’t necessarily need UVB light but it can be beneficial to give them access to UVB light for a few hours each day. Lighting can also be needed to view your crested gecko or to grow live plants.
If you choose lighting for your crested gecko terrarium you’ll need:
- a lighting fixture: if you get an Exo Terra terrarium you can best use the compact top. This fixture has enough room for fluorescent bulbs and also has a place to put in a thermometer and hygrometer from Exo Terra. If you get a Zoo Med terrarium you should get the Zoo Med Naturalistic Terrarium Hood (18 inch wide) or a smaller Zoo Med Naturalistic Terrarium Hood (12 inch wide), depending on the size of your terrarium.
- fluorescent or led light: if you want just natural light and don’t want to expose your crested gecko to extra UVB light, your best option is the Exo Terra Natural Light. If you want a UVB light and have a large enough terrarium your best option is the Zoo Med Repti Sun 5.0. If you don’t have a large terrarium it’s best that you get a Zoo Med Repti Sun 2.0 although these can be harder to find.
- (optional) a timer: a timer can help a lot by giving enough daylight or limiting the amount of UVB light. The Zoo Med Repti Day Night Timer does a great job and is a good quality product for a low price.
Personally I don’t use a fluorescent light but use the Exo Terra Day & Night Led. This eliminates the need for a lighting fixture and a timer and is ideal when you got windows and a natural light cycle in the room where your terrarium is in. And even then, it’s possible that your crested gecko doesn’t like a light at night and that you don’t need a light at all!
A crested gecko needs a temperature between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 26 degrees Celsius). This is a temperature that is easily obtained in most homes unless you live in a very hot or very cold region. To improve the temperature in cold regions or in winter you can use a heat bulb.
Because a crested gecko is usually housed in a 10-gallon or 20-gallon terrarium and doesn’t need very high temperatures you don’t need bulbs with a high wattage.
For both 10-gallon and 20-gallon terrariums, I would recommend the Zoo Med’s Daylight Blue Reptile Bulb (40w) and the Mini Combo Deep Dome as a light/heat fixture.
The bulbs above also provide light but no UVB and can replace the lighting fixture if you don’t need UVB. So the cost can be lower than the estimated price in the table above.
The temperature and humidity in a crested gecko terrarium should be monitored daily to make sure that your crested gecko stays healthy. So a good thermometer (to measure temperature) and hygrometer (to measure humidity) are necessary.
Analog thermometers and hygrometers are cheaper but are less reliable than their digital counterparts. A good and reliable combination of a digital thermometer and a digital hygrometer is the Exo Terra Digital Thermometer and Hygrometer and Exo Terra Combometer, which are roughly the same product.
Pressurized spray bottle
A crested gecko needs a relative humidity between 70 and 80 percent. This requires you to mist the terrarium once or twice a day. Misting isn’t difficult and requires water and a spray bottle.
You can use a spray bottle as you would use for watering plants. However, this kind of spray bottle has a limited water supply and does not have the same pressure as a real misting bottle. I would recommend you get an Exo Terra Mister Portable Pressure Sprayer, especially for misting a terrarium that’s 20 gallons or larger. For a small terrarium, you can use the Exo Terra Mini Mister Spray Bottle or a spray bottle for plants.
When you keep hatchlings or small juvenile crested geckos paper towels are a cheap and safe substrate. Larger juveniles (older than 6 months or weighing more than 10 grams) and adults can be kept in a terrarium with a real (naturalistic) substrate like spaghnum moss, cypress mulch, coconut bedding, organic soil or a combination
You can make your own soil mix substrate but there is also a large choice of substrates and you can easily combine multiple substrates. The substrate you choose should be moist-retaining, have a low-ingestion risk, and should be easy to replace and clean. My number one choice would be the plantation soil in combination with spaghnum moss.
To get some foliage in your terrarium you can use fake or live plants. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks and the choice is ultimately up to you.
For hatchlings and small juvenile crested geckos, I would definitely recommend getting fake plants. The small terrarium or containers you keep them in isn’t large enough for live plants and it would only make it too difficult for your crestie to find its way.
If you want life plants you can go to a plant nursery or garden center. If you want convenience you can also find plants online. Search for golden pothos, sansevieria, and bromeliads. Just make sure that you don’t get too many plants! Half of the terrarium should be free for your crested gecko to explore.
You can go nuts with decorating your crested gecko terrarium. There are fake vines, branches, hides, waterfalls, backgrounds,… You can spend a lot of money on decoration and a lot will depend on your personal preference.
There are some decorations that I find necessary for each crested gecko terrarium:
- fake vines: fake vines are bendable and look a lot like vines. You can create different setups with fake vines and they’re great for arboreal lizards like crested geckos. For a “small” terrarium (20-gallon and less) a small vine is good enough. Very handy and beautiful in a terrarium for crested geckos are the Exo Terra Jungle Vine and the Exo Terra Moss Vine.
- bamboo bars: the bamboo bars from Fluker’s offer a lot of climbing possibilities and fit in small and large terrariums. Add one or two depending on the size of your terrarium.
- one or more hides: crested geckos will sleep during the day and they will usually do so in an area that is a bit hidden or covered. You can find your crested gecko sleeping under plants or branches but a hide adds an extra finish to the terrarium. It’s also a great escape for when your crested gecko is afraid and needs a safe place. I absolutely love the Exo Terra Canopy Cave for a hide on the ground and the Pangea Hanging Coconut Hide to hang higher in the terrarium.
- a good background: if you got a crested gecko kit there’s already a background in the terrarium but if you don’t get a kit or don’t like the background you can always choose another background for your terrarium. Get a background that resembles a forest or rainforest like a Zoo Med Cork Tile Background or the Zoo Med Natural Forest Tile Background.
Magnetic feeding ledge
Crested geckos are (semi-)arboreal and love to climb and jump. You can feed your crested gecko by placing a cup or dish on the ground but it’s recommended to place the feeding and water cups up high. You can do this by using a so-called feeding ledge.
There are feeding ledges with plastic suction cups, with magnets or with screws (for screen cages). If you get a glass terrarium you’re only options are feeding ledges with suction cups or magnets.
The problem with suction cups is that they can lose their grip after a while and that they might need to be replaced. You don’t want the ledge falling off while your crestie is on it and you definitely don’t want the ledge falling on your crested gecko.
So magnets are generally a better choice to stay in place and two places for cups are better than one. If you’re looking for a ledge that fits all these criteria and has good quality the best choice is the Pangea Ultimate Gecko Ledge. If you plan on using the small cups it’s also best to get the small cup adapter.
A crested gecko will eat and drink from cups and you can find all kinds of cups in pet stores and online. Most of these cups are made from plastic and look the same at roughly the same price.
My personal recommendation goes to the biodegradable feeding cups from Pangea Reptile. There are small and large cups that you can use depending on the size and appetite of your crested gecko. Both fit in the feeding ledge I mentioned above.
Don’t be afraid, the cups can be used as both feeding and water dish without a problem.
Crested gecko diet
Most crested geckos in captivity are given meal replacement powders as a main diet. You add water to these powders to make a soft and palatable puree. It’s an easy way to give all nutrients to your crested gecko and if you’re just starting caring for a crested gecko I recommend not giving anything other than such powders (as the main diet).
There are a lot of different brands that offer meal replacement powders (MRP). Some are well-established and well-known in the crested gecko community and the two top brands are Pangea and Repashy.
There’s sometimes a discussion about which one of these brands is better and the answer is that it’s not that easy. Both have the nutrients that your crested gecko needs but Pangea tends to be more readily eaten by crested geckos and has a lot of different tastes.
My personal preference goes to Pangea because it:
- is, in general, more liked by crested geckos;
- has 7 different tastes whereas Repashy only has 4 tastes;
- is available in different package sizes so you can store enough.
So if you want a good MRP diet, get the Pangea Fruit Mix With Insects Complete Gecko Diet and give some variation with other tastes like:
- Fig & Insects
If you want to give some extra tasty treat but don’t want to have the trouble of mixing a fruit puree, you can also get the Pangea Fruit Mix Gecko Treat (Amazon) which creates some extra variety in the diet.
In the old days supplements were very important to give to crested geckos because the diet usually didn’t contain all nutrients that were necessary. The diets didn’t contain enough vitamin D3 and calcium to keep crested geckos healthy so supplements were necessary.
Nowadays every high-quality crested gecko diet such as Pangea and Repashy have all necessary nutrients and supplements are not needed unless in some special cases such as a gravid (pregnant) female that needs extra calcium.
The only recommendation I can give you is to use supplements when feeding insects and worms (dusting). Supplements can contain only calcium or calcium and vitamin D3. Since crested geckos only need little vitamin D3 you should only use a small amount of supplement.
A very good supplement is the Zoo Med Repti Calcium which is available with vitamin D3 and has low enough amounts of vitamin D3 to stay within a healthy range. Still, don’t overdo on dusting and never add supplements to your crested gecko food (they already contain a balanced amount of nutrients).
Caring for a crested gecko also means measuring and more importantly weighing. You want to stay on top and know when your crested gecko is losing weight. Weighing your crested gecko can be done with a simple digital kitchen scale like the GreaterGoods Digital Food Kitchen Scale, which is available in different colors.
To clean your crested gecko terrarium you need disinfectant and this disinfectant should be safe for your crested gecko. The most popular choice and my number one recommended disinfectant is the Zoo Med Wipe Out 1. And if you’re lacking good cleaning sponges that don’t scratch on glass, you can add the Cold Life Cleaning Sponges to your shopping list.
Starter Kits for a Crested Gecko
Crested geckos are popular reptiles and there are different starter kits that are made just for crested geckos. These starter kits usually contain the very basics: a terrarium, one piece of decoration with a fake plant, background, a thermometer and hygrometer, and substrate. Be aware that there are starter kits for hatchlings & juveniles and kits for adult crested geckos.
The Exo Terra Crested Gecko Kit contains the basics. If you want the led lighting you can usually find these in pet stores or sometimes online.
If you’re more a fan of Zoo Med you can get the Zoo Med Naturalistic Terrarium Crested Gecko Kit. This kit also contains food and water dishes, food, supplements, a water conditioner, and a booklet about crested geckos. However, it doesn’t contain a thermometer/hygrometer.
For the same price, you do get more with the Zoo Med Kit but the food and supplements are just to start with and there are more complete books about crested gecko care that I would recommend. Both the Exo Terra and the Zoo Med Kit have their own pros and cons and it also depends on the kind of terrarium you want.
Some stores also make their own kits with more in them but this depends on the region you live in.
A starter kit doesn’t eliminate everything on your crested gecko shopping list. You’ll still need some essentials like food, a transport cage, a spray bottle, and cleaning supplies.