Thinking Of Getting An African Fat Tail Gecko.

Colt Frost
  • #1
Ok, this probably won't happen until September if it is going to happen. But I've been researching reptiles and I think I've come to a conclusion that I want an African fat tail gecko. I won't be getting it until my 135 gallon tank is finished. I will most likely buy it a 20 gallon long tank, with a normal heat lamp, maybe a red bulb, a heating pad, and small woodchips or a reptile mat for the floor(?), and some plant decorations and perhaps a log and a cave for a couple hides. I might upgrade if the tank needs more hides or if the gecko needs more space. But I've read that a pair can be kept in a 10 gallon, so I think 20 would be enough for 1. I'm going to feed it the same food I feed my Leopard gecko, which is crickets. I gutload my crickets with Romane lettuce and fish flakes (Omega one), and maybe an occasional wax or silkworm. I will mist the enclosure twice a week, and feed 5 crickets a day until it is an adult (is this correct?). And then 7 crickets every other day. Would these be suitable conditions for an AFTG? Oh ya, and in the hide away from the heat lamp I will put a damp paper towel for a moist hide. If I'm missing anything please let me know. Again this won't be happening until late August, or mid September.
 
wodesorel
  • #2
I really like my fat-tail, Blaze. He was an adoption through a local reptile rescue, and had been surrendered because his last owner hadn't been able to afford food so he was a tailless skeleton when I brought him home!

They are more tropical than leos, so do need a fair bit of moisture in their environment. I have all my leos on tile, but I do use a moist sand and cocofiber mix for Blaze. I don't normally like loose substrate for lizards, but he has not shown signs of eating it, and he loves to dig.

A 20 is a good size, they are fairly big as adults and it is harder to get a temperature range and enough hides in a 10. I would honestly like a tank with a bit more floor space if I can swing it in the future. Mine does not climb at all, but he has mild MBD damage which may be why.

I got him as an adult so I have no idea what to feed as a baby, but he enjoys crickets, supers and really loves hornworms! I do about 6 crickets and three large hornworms a week for him, sometimes a little more if he starts looking a little thin. (I have a tendancy to overfed so I try to be careful!)
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Colt Frost
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Sorry I took so long to reply, but ya I'll mist down the enclosure 3-4 times every week. I think I'm going to play it safe and go with reptile carpet or paper towels. I'll try and see if the person I'm buying it from knows the age, and I'll base it's feeding schedule on that. I'll get it a couple of hides and everything. Perhaps for one of the hides I'll get one of those half hollowed out logs. And do they like the plants/foliage? And btw Blaze is very pretty lol.
 
wodesorel
  • #4
He mostly just sleeps with his head out of his hide all day. He does go exploring though, and the plants help with making him actually hunt for his dinner. I had live plants in there for a while but they outgrew the tank and I keep forgetting to pick up something new.

Make sure to plan for a moist hide with moist cocofiber or moss in it. It creates a humid microclimate that helps them shed normally! Without it, they can get old skin stuck to toes or tail tips when they shed, which can cause major issues. I don't have one for him since his sub is always moist.
 
Colt Frost
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
He mostly just sleeps with his head out of his hide all day. He does go exploring though, and the plants help with making him actually hunt for his dinner. I had live plants in there for a while but they outgrew the tank and I keep forgetting to pick up something new.

Make sure to plan for a moist hide with moist cocofiber or moss in it. It creates a humid microclimate that helps them shed normally! Without it, they can get old skin stuck to toes or tail tips when they shed, which can cause major issues. I don't have one for him since his sub is always moist.
I think I’m going to go with live plants as well. I’m thinking pathos and a spider plant? And for substrate I was reading what you have is good for them. A 2-1 ratio of coconut fiber and sand. I’m going to put the plants in pots. And I am going to have a moist hide, what kind of moss is good for this. Pete? Spagnum?

Do you think a wire vine would be ok? Or would it not be safe. I've read they're toxic to pets, but the gecko wouldn't be eating it would it?

Anyone know any reptile forums? Where I can ask around a bit more?
 
Alexolotl
  • #6
Don’t go with fabric reptile mats, trust me. I’ve dealt with them multiple times when caring for a friend’s bearded dragon, and they are a pain in the butt to clean (which is pretty much daily). Paper towels would work well.
 
Colt Frost
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Don’t go with fabric reptile mats, trust me. I’ve dealt with them multiple times when caring for a friend’s bearded dragon, and they are a pain in the butt to clean (which is pretty much daily). Paper towels would work well.
I’m going to go with a 1-2 ratio of play sand and eco earth

I'm going start with getting the tank, creating a false bottom for drainage for the plants, which is going to be egg crate and some fiberglass screen with gravel on top of it, then the sand-eco earth combo. Then comes the issue of drainage, I would have to drill a hole in the side of the tank, because I really don't want to suck all the water out manually. I just watched ThekingofDIY's video on how to cut a hole in a tank safely, and I think I understand. Then after the substrate and drainage, onto equipment. I need a heat pad, a UVB light (I know AFTG's don't need it, but I need it for the plants), probably a new heat lamp, a hygrometer and thermometer (anyone know any good brands for terrariums?), and a new spray bottle for misting the enclosure (though I doubt that I will need to because of the plants being watered). Does anyone know if it would be safe to water the plants once a month with liquid miracle grow? (Safe for the geckos I mean). And then after that, the hides and sphagnum moss for one of the hides. Then, finally the Geckos. I'm hoping to get 2 Females. The tank is either going to be a 30 or a 40 gallon fish tank. This all isn't going to happen until late August early September though, lol. The plants that are going in the tanks are, a Golden Pothos, wire vine, A couple spider plants, a dwarf umbrella plant, and some scotch moss.
 
Colt Frost
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Wait, how am I going to do a heat pad, with all the drainage in place? Do I even need drainage? Could I put the heat pad under the ecoearth and sand layer?
 
AJ6817
  • #9
Hi, so I'm actually getting an AFT next week. I used to own one when I was younger and I really didn't know what I was doing but this time I did my research.

So if you want live plants you will need:
about an inch or so of drainage rocks (gravel, false bottom, egg crates, hydroballs, whatever you decide to go with they all work the same) this is so your plants don't get drowned out since you should spray the cage every other day or so. (Also spray the AFT itself probably once a week to keep him moisturized (they really like that from what I've read))
A mesh sheet to keep the soil out of your drainage (theres a lot of options for this, I got the biomesh by exoterra)
For soil you can use eco earth and sand mixed together. If you want to add some variety throw some sphagnum moss in there too as it holds humidity well.
Optional (add springtails and isopods to be your clean-up crew so you basically never have to clean the tank)
When it comes to plants, make sure when you buy them you wash all of the soil off of their roots and maybe soak them in dechlorinated water. This will get rid of any unwanted pests or pesticides that a lot of stores will have on their plants.

The cage itself:
The 20 gallon long is a good choice, AFTs don't need a lot of height since they literally never climb. So more ground space and less height is optimal.
You will need at least two hides, one on the hot side and one on the cold side. You can put some moist sphagnum or paper towels in the cold one to give them a moist hide but it sometimes is recommended that they have a separate third hide for that. (idk that's personal preference imo) But you definitely need a moist hide of some sort as it helps them shed.
Heat/lighting: You do not need a heat lamp at all. AFTs like belly heat so if you get an UTH then it should be good enough. (just stick it to the bottom of the tank, the heat should get to the top of the soil) Lighting is personal preference as well, since they are nocturnal they don't need UVB light really so your best option would be to get a nice plant growth light in order to help your plants flourish. (keep it on for about half the day or so) If your house is cold and the UTH can't keep up, then maybe consider getting a red heat light to keep on at all times, they probably won't come up with that bright light on during the day since they have sensitive eyes.
Make sure they have a water bowl that is cleaned often and always full.
Mealworms and other worms need some sort of tiny rimmed bowl so they don't get into your soil only to never be seen again. Unless you are going to feed them to your AFT via tongs.
Crickets, I've heard so many differing opinions, so experiment and see what makes your gecko the happiest, I plan on doing 5 crickets MWF once it is full grown with a few worms here and there for treats. (the fatter the tail the healthier the AFT, but don't make him obese because that is also unhealthy)

Your AFT and you:
Handle him whenever you want basically, they are very calm and friendly but avoid sudden movements because they can lose their tail which is okay but will hurt their health for a little bit until it grows back (It will not grow back the same)
I suggest when you first get him let him get used to his surroundings for a couple weeks before even trying to handle him.

Most importantly, have fun with your new pet, they're so cool and cute!
 

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