One of the most important parts of caring for your new leopard gecko is its enclosure setup.
Having a properly sized tank your gecko will feel right at home in is crucial to their health and happiness under your care.
But how do you know if the enclosure you’ve chosen is the right size for your adorable scaly friend?
For a baby or juvenile leopard gecko, a 10-gallon tank is sufficient. However, as they grow into their adult size, the average gecko will need an enclosure of at least 20 gallons or larger, with a 30-gallon tank being ideal, especially if you plan on housing more than one gecko in the tank.
Giving any pet the proper environment is one of the most important parts of practicing good animal husbandry.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about the size of a leopard gecko tank.
What Size Tank Does A Leopard Gecko Need
Bringing a new pet into your home means doing your research.
One of the most important aspects of taking care of your new leopard gecko is providing them with just the right size terrarium.
If you are starting with one leopard gecko, you will need to purchase at least a 10-gallon size terrarium.
This is the absolute minimum size you will need to have for your leopard gecko’s habitat.
The size can be larger for one gecko, and some recommend starting with a 20-gallon tank.
A larger area will provide more space for the gecko to explore and have enriched lives.
Our pick for an easy one to get is this Repti Zoo glass terrarium with attractive foam backgrounds and is 34 gallons in size.
If you have more than one adult leopard gecko, you could house them together, but the size of the tank will need to increase by five gallons per gecko.
The tank you choose can be used for the leopard gecko’s entire lifespan, from hatchling to adulthood.
This means you don’t have to go out and buy multiple tanks or move your pet as they grow.
Leopard Gecko Cage Size Chart
Here is a handy chart to help you figure out the bare minimum size you need for the number of leopard geckos you have.
|Number and Type of Leopard Geckos||Bare Minimum Size of Enclosure|
|Juvenile gecko||10 gallons|
|1 Adult||20 gallons|
|2 Adults||25 gallons|
|3 Adults||30 gallons|
|4 Adults||35 gallons|
What Type Of Enclosure Will Be Best?
The type of leopard gecko vivarium you use to house your leopard gecko is just as important as the size.
When you are looking at tanks, it is best to select a glass aquarium or terrarium.
Glass tanks look great and can help with the creation of a temperature gradient.
Glass tanks aren’t the only option, but they are easy to find and set up, especially for the first-time leopard gecko owner who is still learning.
Wire cages should never be used for housing leopard geckos, as the animal runs the risk of getting hurt in the wires or escaping.
Leopard geckos are not known for being able to climb up glass very well, so the possibility of escape is lessened by using a glass aquarium.
Can Leopard Geckos Be Housed Together?
If you have decided you love having one leopard gecko, you might think two would be even better.
This could make you wonder if you will need to have multiple tanks, or if two leopard geckos would make good roommates.
You can house multiple leopard geckos together in one tank, but we do not recommend more than three in one tank.
Leopard geckos do well alone or with one or two friends, but more than three makes it hard to give the animals their own space to retreat to when they are feeling stressed or threatened.
Learn more about leopard gecko stress by checking out our guide at the link.
Some researchers claim having multiple geckos housed in one terrarium offers a kind of enrichment and sparks extra activity.
These experts claim the leopard geckos are more social and are much more active.
In the wild, leopard geckos do live in colonies and will often share hiding or resting areas with other members of their species.
When the animals are active and looking for food, they are less social, instead scattering not to have to compete for food.
Having more than one leopard gecko in the enclosure means the size of the tank will need to increase by five gallons per additional animal.
So if you started with a 10-gallon tank for one gecko, you would need to purchase at least a 15-gallon tank when you introduce another.
It is also important to remember not to have more than one male per tank if you are housing multiples.
Male leopard geckos are going to be territorial and tend to fight with other males if they are too close.
Housing multiple leopard geckos are not impossible, but you will also need to consider the possible side effects.
If the animals are not getting along, there could be fighting, bites, and even broken bones.
While this is very common in male geckos groups, it can happen with females at times, so be sure you are keeping a watchful eye on them to make sure cohabiting is going well.
Not all leopard geckos are going to get along, so it is a good idea to be prepared to separate them into individual tanks quickly if they begin to fight.
Also, unless you want to have leopard gecko babies, males and females of the species probably shouldn’t be kept together.
Setting Up The Leopard Gecko Terrarium
Once you have selected the proper size tank for your leopard gecko, you need to add a few more things to make sure the animal is getting the best care.
For a full guide, check out the best leopard gecko equipment.
Add terrarium decor like large rocks or branches to use as hiding spots and for some general exercise.
Check out our picks for the best leopard gecko decorations.
The tanks’ temperature should be about 75° to 85° degrees Fahrenheit (24° – 29° C) during the daytime and 10° degrees Fahrenheit cooler at night.
This temperature should be mostly dry, but an area with some moisture is excellent for a leopard gecko.
Do this by adding damp peat moss to one of their hiding areas.
You will also want to add some bedding to the enclosure using reptile sand, a reptile sand mat, or even paper towels.
Choosing A Substrate
There are many types of substrates ideal for leopard geckos.
Substrate is simply the bedding you will use to coat the floor of the enclosure for your pet to walk on.
Generally, it’s a good idea to avoid substrates with a lot of tiny, indigestible particles, like gravel, wood chips, or sand, as these pose a risk of impaction.
Sand mats are a lot safer, as the smaller particles are glued securely to the mat.
Some great choices of substrates include:
- Reptile carpet
- Linoleum stick-down tiles
- Paper towels
- Sand mats
- Flat stones/slate
Additionally, be sure to choose a substrate which is easy to clean and easy to remove from the enclosure in case the tank needs to be deep cleaned.
All of the above choices are fairly hassle-free to spot clean and remove entirely if needed.
Other Tank Supplies
In addition to substrate, you’ll also need to furnish your leopard gecko’s enclosure with a couple of hides and plenty of objects like plants, rocks, and other decorations for them to interact with.
The most important furniture items in your gecko’s enclosure are their hides, which are simply small caves for the gecko to seek shelter in.
Ideally, your pet needs a warm, moist hide and a cool, dry hide.
For cool hides, we like this Exo Terra cave; it’s affordable and looks quite eye-catching.
The warm, moist hide will need to be on the warmer side of the enclosure and have a substrate inside like sphagnum moss or paper towels to keep it humid without increasing the tank’s overall humidity level.
You will need to mist the substrate in the hide at least once or twice per day to keep it moist.
This hide will assist with shedding.
When your gecko sheds its skin, occasionally it will struggle to remove bits of skin on its toes, tail, and between the folds of its skin like under its armpits.
The warm, moist hide’s conditions will dampen and soften the shedding skin, making it easier to remove.
The dry, cool hide, on the other hand, will need to go on the opposite end of the tank.
This will provide your gecko with a cool, shaded spot to hang out in if they’re feeling shy or want to sleep.
For substrate, it is best to simply use whatever substrate you used for the rest of the enclosure.
Finally, it’s up to you what other types of decorations you’ll add to the enclosure.
Rocks, small pieces of furniture like bridges, platforms, and hammocks, and plants are all great choices.
Whether you opt for fake or real plants is up to you, but for novice leopard gecko owners, we highly recommend using fake plants, since your gecko won’t be munching on them anyway.
Fake plants are far easier to care for and look just as great as the real thing!
Leopard geckos should start in at least a 10-gallon tank, and if you do not add any additional geckos to the container, you should be able to use this for their home for their entire lives.
These animals need to have some space to explore and hide when they are feeling the need to.
Giving your leopard gecko the right size tank will put you on the path to giving your pet a long and happy life.
Speaking of happiness, check out these signs for leopard gecko happiness.
Commonly Asked Questions
Is a 20-gallon tank too big for a leopard gecko?
A 20-gallon tank is a perfect size for a leopard gecko.
In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to go a bit larger up to a 30-gallon tank if possible.
While it has been generally believed reptiles get “overwhelmed” by larger enclosures, this is a common misconception.
In fact, your gecko will gladly utilize any space you give them, provided the enclosure isn’t absurdly large like 60+ gallons or set up in an overly cluttered or confusing way.
Is 10 gallons enough for a leopard gecko?
A 10-gallon enclosure is fine for a baby or juvenile leopard gecko.
However, as they reach their adult size, we highly recommend opting for a tank at least 20 gallons or more in size.
In a 10-gallon enclosure, your gecko is likely to feel a bit cramped and stressed out.
This is because they need plenty of room to explore, hide, and eat.
Is a 50-gallon tank too big for a leopard gecko?
50 gallons is right around the maximum size we’d recommend for a leopard gecko enclosure, provided it is only housing a single leopard gecko.
For one adult gecko, a 20 to 40-gallon tank is ideal.
If you are housing more than one gecko in the enclosure, though, 50 gallons is a good size to give all of the lizards inside (up to 3 or 4 at most) plenty of space to feel comfortable.