Setting up your crested gecko’s new habitat properly is essential to ensuring their long-term health and happiness.
There are a lot of factors to consider, from humidity to temperature and tank decor like hides and plants.
Above all, though, you’re probably wondering what kind of lighting your gecko needs, particularly at night.
Since crested geckos are nocturnal and thrive in fairly low temperatures, they don’t need any specialized lighting at night. However, you’ll still need a low-wattage white basking bulb to provide your gecko’s enclosure with a proper day/night cycle to mimic natural sunlight: 12 hours on, 12 hours off.
Keep reading to learn more about your gecko’s lighting needs for daytime and nighttime, as well as other enclosure requirements like temperature and humidity.
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What Lighting Do Crested Geckos Need?
Overall, lighting is not nearly as crucial to your crested gecko’s habitat as temperature and humidity.
Still, though, there are a few essential factors to keep in mind regarding lighting.
Crested geckos are nocturnal by nature, meaning they sleep during the day and engage in most of their activity at night.
Despite this, though, you will still need to set up a low-wattage white basking or fluorescent bulb to provide your gecko with a proper day and night cycle as they would experience in their natural habitat.
This means you’ll have to establish a relatively strict and consistent day and night cycle with the bulb, which will mimic natural sunlight.
Leave the light on for 12 hours during the daytime and off for 12 hours at night.
Do your best to follow the natural patterns of the sun rising and setting for the best results.
Keep in mind crested geckos thrive in relatively low temperatures compared to most other pet reptiles, or around 75 to 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C) at most during the day with temperatures dipping slightly lower at night.
Be sure the light you choose doesn’t give off too much heat, as this will make your gecko uncomfortable.
You’ll also want to make sure the heat doesn’t interfere with the humidity settings in your gecko’s enclosure, as they need pretty high humidity settings (around 60% during the day and up to 80% at night).
We recommend a bulb such as this Lucky Herp 50W Basking Bulb.
Since its wattage is reasonably low, it likely won’t interfere much with your gecko’s temperature and humidity settings, but it’s still bright and large enough to provide a proper day and night cycle.
Do Crested Geckos Need Lights At Night?
Like we touched on earlier, crested geckos only need lighting to establish a day and night cycle.
This means they don’t need any special lighting at night; simply turn off the basking bulb for around 12 hours every night.
The most important thing with your crested gecko’s lighting is consistent with the day and night cycle.
Many crested gecko owners set the alarm as a reminder or use a dedicated timer, such as Zilla’s Reptile Habitat Power Center, to keep the lighting consistent and regular.
This way, your gecko will be used to 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nighttime each day.
How Do I Keep My Crested Gecko Warm At Night?
Crested geckos thrive in low temperatures of around 72 to 78° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C) or so.
At night, it is safe for these temperatures to dip to around 68 to 70° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C).
This means you generally won’t need much or any additional heat at night for your gecko.
However, if you’re worried your gecko’s enclosure will get colder than this due to the temperature settings in your home, use a ceramic heat emitter instead of a heat lamp.
A ceramic heat emitter is essentially exactly what it says on the tin, so to speak: it is a bulb-like fixture designed to only give off heat and no light, so it won’t disturb your gecko’s sleep and wake cycles.
This makes them perfect for keeping your crested gecko warm at night if you prefer to keep your home on the cooler side.
We recommend a ceramic heat emitter like BOEESPAT’s Ceramic Heat Emitter Bulbs.
These are available in various wattages, so you’ll be able to find one to suit your gecko’s enclosure size perfectly.
Ideally, it’s best to opt for the lowest wattage available since crested geckos don’t need much heat nighttime heating.
Check out our crested gecko lighting requirements and temperature guide for everything you need to know about warmth and humidity.
Do Crested Geckos Need UVB?
Another great thing about crested geckos is they don’t require any specialized UVB lighting.
This is mainly because they are nocturnal and don’t absorb much natural sunlight in their natural habitats.
In turn, their bodies have evolved to require very little natural light, so even in captivity, they still don’t need UVB.
However, many reptile experts argue crested geckos do benefit from a small amount of UVB, even if their bodies don’t outright require it to survive.
Even a small amount of UVB lighting during the day is said to make crested geckos more active, benefit their bone and muscle health, and aid in the process of digestion, too.
Just be sure to turn the bulb off at night since crested geckos don’t need UVB at night.
It is recommended to follow the same day-night cycle as your primary lighting, or 12 hours on, 12 hours off.
Turn both bulbs on and off simultaneously to keep the schedule consistent for your gecko and make it easier for you to manage.
Types Of UVB Bulbs For Crested Geckos
If you want to be on the safe side, be sure to purchase a low-output UVB bulb for your crested gecko’s enclosure. UVB bulbs are typically measured in their output.
This measurement is usually denoted as either a percentage (5% or 10%) or as a decimal (for example, 5.0 or 10.0).
Generally, the lowest output UVB bulbs are usually around 3% to 5%, and they are the type best suited for a crested gecko.
We recommend a bulb like Repti Zoo’s 5.0 Reptile Light Bulb.
This bulb will give off a very low, gentle amount of UVB to help keep your gecko’s body strong and healthy.
Remember, for any bulb you purchase, you’ll also need a fixture to properly house it.
Opt for a fixture with a deep enough dome like Lucky Herp’s Aluminum 5.5”-Inch Deep Dome Fixture for a coil-style UVB bulb like the one mentioned above.
There are also long tube-style UVB bulbs on the market, such as Lucky Herp’s T8 5.0 UVB Bulb.
Some reptile experts recommend these over the coil-style bulbs, as they provide wider coverage of the enclosure.
However, since crested geckos require very little UVB anyway, it is fine to use a coil bulb, too.
Keep in mind fixtures for tube-style UVB bulbs are a bit harder to find since they are available in many widely varying sizes from 12” to 24” inches or even longer.
You’ll likely need to do a bit more searching to find a fixture to properly fit your particular UVB bulb if you opt for one in the tube-like style.
Some tube-style UVB bulbs come packaged with a fixture, such as Zilla’s Slimline Reptile Lighting Fixtures.
These are especially convenient since they are pre-assembled for you, though they are a bit harder to find than bulbs and fixtures packaged separately.
Are Crested Geckos Able To See At Night?
While crested geckos don’t need any special light at night, you might be worried your gecko won’t be able to see at night if they have to move around.
Thankfully, since crested geckos are nocturnal, their bodies (and eyes) have adapted over many years of evolution to be perfectly suited to low-light settings at night.
While we diurnal humans don’t have much visibility at night, crested geckos have exceptional night vision!
If you’re worried the conditions in your gecko’s enclosure will become too dark at night, plug in a night light in a nearby outlet to provide a tiny amount of additional light.
Alternatively, turn on a small lamp at the opposite end of the room or a hallway light outside the room.
Your gecko’s enclosure should never be pitch dark, even at night.
They usually still have a bit of light from the moon to light their way in the wild.
Plus, with a minimal amount of dim lighting at night, you’ll be able to observe your gecko’s activities without disturbing them.
What Do Crested Geckos Do At Night?
Since crested geckos tend to rest and sleep during the day, most activities like exploring, socializing, and eating are done at night.
Speaking of sleeping, learn more about crested gecko sleeping habits here.
Thanks to their adept night vision, their bodies are perfectly suited to being more active when the sun goes down.
If you observe your gecko at night, you’ll likely notice they are far more active and friendly than they are during the day.
If you are focusing on handling and socializing your gecko, it’s best to have any handling sessions in the evening when your pet is waking up and has more energy.
It also helps to feed your gecko in the evening for this same reason.
Their appetite will be more stimulated at night.