Question Crested Gecko Clean-up Crew

natureandwildlife

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I'm planning on getting a Crested Gecko. I'm going to make a simple enclosure from a plastic container for when it is a baby. I will then begin building a permanent enclosure for when it outgrows the smaller cage.

I would like to use live plants, coco fiber (I may mix it with something else too), and a clean-up crew of bugs like Spring Tails. For those who have experience with using bugs in their enclosures, how often do you find yourself having to clean the substrate and replace it?

Thanks!

Sidenote: Does anyone know of any large forums for Crested Geckos? I haven't found any that are as active as forums like Fishlore.
 

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Congrats, geckos are a lot of fun once you establish the basic necessities, we have a leopard gecko and are still in the process of getting things we need to make it right.

I would recommend ensuring that the container you use has more vertical height than floor space, as these geckos are arboreal (living in the trees) and need more room to go up and climb. I happen to know of two other great gecko and reptile related forums but I am not certain that linking them here would be allowed, so you should search up "gecko forums" and you should find some great choices.

On the part about the bioactive cleaning crew, this is not my expertise, but I do know that @BReefer97 keeps a variety of reptiles and amphibians, and they may be able to help you further.
 

BReefer97

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The quick answer would be never. Most all of my reptile enclosures are bioactive and I’ve never changed the substrate in any of them. I’ve taken some out and added in some different substrate mixes but that’s about it. Your clean up crew takes care of pretty much everything, you’ll just have to mix the substrate around sometimes to oxygenate it and wipe down the glass. With larger reptiles you would need to spot clean large poops and generally use a heavier duty clean up crew but you don’t need to worry about that, spring tails have no problem taking care of crested gecko poop.

I would recommend using Reptisoil instead of/OR/in conjunction with the Coco fiber. Reptisoil is better for live plants because coconut fiber doesn’t really offer anything for them, and it takes a while for your CUC to begin breaking down waste and turning it in to enough food for the plants to thrive off of. They’ll generally look really nice for a few weeks but they eventually die off. I’ve tried so many times to get them to do well in coco fiber but it hasn’t worked for me, and I like to consider myself pretty good with plants. After adding Reptisoil to my substrate (which was coco fiber and a small amount of sand to keep it from clumping) my plants have done much better. But whenever you water your plants mix the substrate around with your finger a little bit to get it to soak up. I’ve noticed the water will sometimes just sit on top of the substrate and never absorb so the plants never get water.

If you have any other questions like what plants do best and are reptile safe definitely feel free to ask!
 
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natureandwildlife

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Thank you for the replies! I'm very glad to hear that I won't need to clean the substrate. Is there a benefit to using artificial plants over live plants? Can you use plants from Lowe's or Home Depot is they are reptile safe? If so, what about the soil it comes in? I'm guessing that I would need to remove the dirt.
Lastly, how long can a baby live in a 6qt tub before it outgrows it? Also, where do you recommend buying them? I would love to avoid buying from Petsmart or Petco but I don't have any reptile stores near me. I also can't find any breeders that aren't charging $100+ dollars for one and them the cost of shipping is usually pretty high. Same thing us the springtails.
 

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Thank you for the replies! I'm very glad to hear that I won't need to clean the substrate. Is there a benefit to using artificial plants over live plants? Can you use plants from Lowe's or Home Depot is they are reptile safe? If so, what about the soil it comes in? I'm guessing that I would need to remove the dirt.
Lastly, how long can a baby live in a 6qt tub before it outgrows it? Also, where do you recommend buying them? I would love to avoid buying from Petsmart or Petco but I don't have any reptile stores near me. I also can't find any breeders that aren't charging $100+ dollars for one and them the cost of shipping is usually pretty high. Same thing us the springtails.
I would check MorphMarket I have seen quiet a few on there for 40-50ish dollars before shipping.
 

BReefer97

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Thank you for the replies! I'm very glad to hear that I won't need to clean the substrate. Is there a benefit to using artificial plants over live plants? Can you use plants from Lowe's or Home Depot is they are reptile safe? If so, what about the soil it comes in? I'm guessing that I would need to remove the dirt.
Lastly, how long can a baby live in a 6qt tub before it outgrows it? Also, where do you recommend buying them? I would love to avoid buying from Petsmart or Petco but I don't have any reptile stores near me. I also can't find any breeders that aren't charging $100+ dollars for one and them the cost of shipping is usually pretty high. Same thing us the springtails.
You could use artificial plants for less of a hassle but live plants help with humidity and what not. You could absolutely use plants you get from Lowe’s or Home Depot, most of mine are from Lowe’s. Be sure to check for spider mites and scale insects though, a lot of the plants I’ve gotten from Lowe's had some type of bug. Check the stems for any brown dots as that’s an indicator something’s been eating it, and you can usually see spider mites clumped together under the leaves. They’re easy to get rid of though, just have to spray the plant off with water every day for a few weeks. And I rinse as much of the soil out of the roots as possible and then it goes right in the tank. You’ll probably want to plant your tank and have it set up for a while before adding your gecko because they love to knock over and destroy newly added plants. And as for hoe long it should be in the tub, that all depends on how quickly your gecko grows. They all grow at different rates so it’s pretty much a judgement call on your part.

Check for reptiles shows/expos in your area. They typically always have loads of crested geckos for sale and they’re pretty inexpensive. This way you can also talk to the breeder and see what foods it’s been eating and what not. I’m a breeder myself and my most recent hatchlings I sold for $30-$70. They were on the low low end because the were all pretty average geckos, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
 
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natureandwildlife

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I'm second guessing whether I want to use live plants in my terrarium. I really like how there is no maintenance for artificial plants. I still plan to keep springtails for clean up. (I want an extremely low maintenance terrarium.) Will they be ok without live plants?
 

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I'm second guessing whether I want to use live plants in my terrarium. I really like how there is no maintenance for artificial plants. I still plan to keep springtails for clean up. (I want an extremely low maintenance terrarium.) Will they be ok without live plants?
Yes, it would be fine with artificial plants! You’ll have to take them out to clean them off though. They’ll collect feces and urine and your tank will start smelling like a really strong swimming pool haha.

There are some really really easy live plants you could try though in the future if you’d ever want to give it a shot Chinese Evergreen, nerve plants/fittonia, and snake plants all grow well in gecko tanks and need very little care, if any. Sometimes you’ll need to separate baby plants that grow off of your adult plants but that’s about it! Just make sure they’re being watered appropriately and given time to dry out. I understand why would wouldn’t want to try it, plants are expensive and sometimes they just don’t work. It took a lot of trial and error to get my plants going good. I started growing them all as house plants and learning as much about them before I would put them in the tank and it made it a lot easier for me.
 
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natureandwildlife

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Well I've decided to try live plants, hopefully it goes well. I was wondering were you can get decently priced springtails. I was going to get them from Josh's Frogs but it's really hot where I live therefore, they don't provide a live guarantee.
 

BReefer97

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Well I've decided to try live plants, hopefully it goes well. I was wondering were you can get decently priced springtails. I was going to get them from Josh's Frogs but it's really hot where I live therefore, they don't provide a live guarantee.
How hot is “hot?” They’re tropical springtails so they’ll usually live through high temps. You can try reptile shows/expos, they have them for a good price but there’s a small admission fee to get in most of the time (well worth it though, so much cool stuff to see!).

As a last resort kind of thing you can try calling local petsmarts and petco’s to see if they happen to get any in. I see them for sale on occasion.
 
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natureandwildlife

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How hot is “hot?” They’re tropical springtails so they’ll usually live through high temps. You can try reptile shows/expos, they have them for a good price but there’s a small admission fee to get in most of the time (well worth it though, so much cool stuff to see!).

As a last resort kind of thing you can try calling local petsmarts and petco’s to see if they happen to get any in. I see them for sale on occasion.
It will get a around low 90s here this time of year. And humid. I'll try calling Petsmart and Petco. Thanks!
 

BReefer97

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It will get a around low 90s here this time of year. And humid. I'll try calling Petsmart and Petco. Thanks!
That should honestly be okay to ship them! We have springtails in our blue tongue skink enclosures and they spike to 90% humidity with temperatures between 120-135 degrees Fahrenheit. But I can’t make any promises ya’ know, I don’t want you to order them and they come in dead haha.
 
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