Thick tail Gecko Housing (help?)

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Atlas

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Hey guys!
My housemate and I are considering getting a pair of thick-tailed geckos - both 3yr old males. (Won’t be housed together, don’t worry!)
Neither of us have any experience with geckos however we’ve both kept pythons and I’ve got a beardie. We’ve both been doing as much research as we could but everywhere seems to say something different.
Our main issue is how to set up the electronics in the tank. We’ve got heat mats laying out and a few ceramic bulbs too which would be our go to if we dont find something else in time.
Some places say that having any lights in the tank would be severely detrimental to the gecko’s eyesight / eye health, and some places are saying that they still need UVB , and some just like lights for decoration.
We plan to use heat mats either way but for ambient heat, what should we do? We don’t use red heat lamps. We’ve got the option of ceramics, but is there any lighting we can/should use in the tanks? And what’s the best loose substrate? I know red sand is highly controversial in the beardie community, but would it be suitable for Thick tail geckos?

p.s anything we should know before getting thick tails?
 

Sdaji

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Don't worry about ambient heat for these lizards. Many people actually keeping them without any supplemental heating at all (I'd personally give it to them if I lived in approximately the southern half of Australia, perhaps not if I lived in the north). Many times I've seen wild ones out actively foraging at low ambient temperatures (lowest I've seen them active was 12 degress) when the ground is a little warmer than the air. I think it's good to give them warmer temperatures during the day, but not with basking lamps etc. These things literally never expose themselves to daylight in natural conditions, definitely don't use UV.

There is no circumstance in which I'd use anything other than floor heat for these guys.

Make sure you use calcium and multivitamin supplements.

Sand is fine for them... as long as it's not fine sand. I've only used red desert sand I've collected myself so I always make sure I get the good stuff at the best part of the dunes, but I assume the commercial stuff they sell in the shops is usually collected by people who know how to pick the good stuff so it should be fine. You can keep pretty much any gecko on a course sand substrate. If you're using sand, make sure the it never entirely dries out. Ideally, use a large enclosure with a fairly deep layer of sand, this will allow you to keep the moisture stable and also keep a moisture gradient (wet at one end, dry at the other). If you know what you're doing you can keep it all good in a 20cm tub, but it sounds like you're new to it, and a larger setup is more newbie proof.
 

Atlas

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@Sdaji that’s awesome, definitely put my mind at ease! After dropping through a few forums I had decided to avoid lights for them ist in case but if it means I don’t have to buy an extra ceramic bulb then even better. They’ll both in just under 2ft tanks as that’s what we had spare and figured once we figured out what exactly we’re doing and how best to care for them we’d switch up the size if we needed to.
I double checked at the local pet store the coarse red sand they sell and it’s basically taken out of the dune and put in a bag so should be all good haha
Thanks heaps for your help!
 

Sdaji

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Sounds perfect :) Something up around 2' is plenty, and is far more than I'd use. The sand sounds great :) I cringe seeing the price of it after standing on dunes with more than the entire Australian reptile community would ever want in a thousand years, but I suppose if you need it now and don't have it on hand, a trip to the shop is a lot cheaper and easier than a road trip of a few thousand km! The nearest dunes with really decent quality red desert sand I know of to Melbourne are over a thousand clicks away, and possibly even further from Sydney. Everything in the east is either too fine or full of twigs and rocks and clay and stuff, not just pure red sand in nice dunes, easy to collect.
 

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