Advice on vivarium setup for Eastern Water Skink

Aussie Pythons & Snakes Forum

Help Support Aussie Pythons & Snakes Forum:

Status
Not open for further replies.

FluffyNinja

New Member
Joined
May 29, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
I'm currently setting up a tank for my first reptile: hoping for an Eastern Water Skink, for my lizard-obsessed daughter.

However I'm getting conflicting advice about heating/lighting.

I've been told I need a basking spot, but no UVB lighting. I've been told I need UVB lighting, but a basking spot is not necessary. And of course been told I need both.

I have a smallish tank: 60cmx38cm x 43h, with a thin strip of mesh on the lid. It's kept in a bright room, but doesn't have sunlight fall directly on the tank.

I've set it up with a 5% UVB globe, which means the warmest part of the tank is 22-23 degrees, and the coolest is 20-21. I would have thought that's a bit too cold - is it?

Given the size of the vivarium, and the species (reeeeeally do want an EWS - gorgeous little things!), what would be a good strength basking light to use? Or should I be thinking a different source of warmth?

Any advice very welcome (and tips on where would be a good place to keep an eye on for buying an Eastern Water Skink once the permit comes through - are they usually so dreadfully slow in Victoria?)
 

CF Constrictor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2019
Messages
422
Reaction score
348
Hi Fluffyninja
You could use a higher wattage bulb and run it through a dimmer switch. You could also use a small heat mat or cord underneath which can also be run through a thermostat and or dimmer switch. Hope thats of some help.
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
Joined
Jun 28, 2004
Messages
8,786
Reaction score
2,250
Location
Victoria
The wattage depends on many things, especially how much ventilation you have and whether it's installed inside the tank or above it, aimed in through mesh. 40W should be sufficient, but hey, they're a few dollars from the hardware store etc, so try a 40W and if it's not enough, get something stronger.

They don't need UV or a basking lamp. I definitely wouldn't bother with a UV light, but I would use a basking lamp if I was keeping them to enjoy and look pretty in a planted tank. A basking lamp will encourage them to come out and bask and behave in a fun way. They're fantastic skinks to watch.

Yes, 23 is too cold. They're very cold tolerant animals but long term they need to be able to get warmer than that during most days for most of the year. Giving them a basking spot of around 35 degrees is good, or if you use a lamp which will give them say 28 in the morning up to 40 or more in the hottest part of the day and cooler in the evening and night, it'll be great (as long as they always have somewhere cool to go if they want to).

UV won't make any difference, but calcium and multivitamin supplements are essential if you're feeding them a normal captive diet and keeping them indoors.

You get different information from various people for two reasons. 1) They have no idea what they're talking about but want to talk anyway and 2) They have different ideas about what 'necessary' means. For example, you can keep them perfectly happy and healthy with no lighting, just floor heating, a regular sized water bowl for drinking only. They'll live and grow and breed like a typical small skink. But some people will say UV is essential because they are mindlessly repeating what they've heard while people like myself have kept and bred many consecutive generations of skinks without them ever experiencing a ray of UV light. Some will say that a basking lamp is 'essential' because they will use it if it's given, and many probably imagine it to be essential, and sure, it's fun to watch them come out and bask to get their heat and presumably part of why you want to keep them is to have fun watching them running around in a pretty enclosure, but it's not the only way they can get their heat and these animals don't actually care how they get it. If my job was to keep these skinks as happy and healthy as possible without wasting any time or resources, I definitely wouldn't be using UV or basking lamps, and I'd keep them in 50-60cm enclosures. But keeping them as pets for fun, I'd definitely have water and plants and probably two spotlights in different areas of a 4' aquarium.
 

FluffyNinja

New Member
Joined
May 29, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Thank you CF Constrictor, and Sdaji, that's really useful information.

Trying a 70w bulb at the moment, as the 40w left the enclosure still on the cool side. I'll keep the 40w handy though, as when the house warms up more in summer, the 70w globe might then be too hot, and I'll swap them out. We live in the Dandenong Ranges, so it can get pretty chilly in the winter. The bulb is inside the glass tank, which has ventilation on end and a strip along the lid.

I'd love a 4' enclosure, but am very limited on space, hence why the 60x38cm. Still, have it set up with some plants, a largish water bowl (with rock in for lizard easy exit), and will set up a nice warm basking-type spot up one end, and cooler at the other. Keep both the lizard & ourselves entertained!
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
Joined
Jun 28, 2004
Messages
8,786
Reaction score
2,250
Location
Victoria
Sounds good :) When I mentioned a 4' tank, keep in mind that I also said you could keep them perfectly happy and healthy in something much smaller and other than for my own viewing pleasure I'd never bother keeping them in something bigger than about 60cm. Sounds like your setup is perfect.

You might consider getting Eulamprus tympanum instead of Eulamprus quoyii. They're similar things but E. tympanum is the local species to this area, and they're more cold hardy. Don't stress if they're not being kept warm at this time of year; they're naturally sitting dormant for winter, freezing cold anyway. A good winter chill is good for them. More so tympanum than quoyii. Both make excellent pets, they're fantastic lizards :) Both species are good examples of things which are easy to keep without thermostats. They can get cold overnight even during the summer as long as they're getting enough heat during the day, and with a basking lamp set to a timer (available for a few dollars at your local K-mart/hardware store etc) you can blast them with the spotlight, they can get as warm as they like and it doesn't matter whether the hottest area is 35 degrees or 80 degrees as long as they're able to cool down, which in an aquarium with a lot of water won't be a problem.

I haven't kept them for years and my circumstances don't currently allow me to keep small lizards, but I'm really looking forward to keeping medium skinks again one day :)
 

lord of snails

New Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
14
Reaction score
4
I'm currently setting up a tank for my first reptile: hoping for an Eastern Water Skink, for my lizard-obsessed daughter.

However I'm getting conflicting advice about heating/lighting.

I've been told I need a basking spot, but no UVB lighting. I've been told I need UVB lighting, but a basking spot is not necessary. And of course been told I need both.

I have a smallish tank: 60cmx38cm x 43h, with a thin strip of mesh on the lid. It's kept in a bright room, but doesn't have sunlight fall directly on the tank.

I've set it up with a 5% UVB globe, which means the warmest part of the tank is 22-23 degrees, and the coolest is 20-21. I would have thought that's a bit too cold - is it?

Given the size of the vivarium, and the species (reeeeeally do want an EWS - gorgeous little things!), what would be a good strength basking light to use? Or should I be thinking a different source of warmth?

Any advice very welcome (and tips on where would be a good place to keep an eye on for buying an Eastern Water Skink once the permit comes through - are they usually so dreadfully slow in Victoria?)
maybe check out serpa design's set up for his fire belly toads , this would probably work great for water skinks
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top