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Crested Geckos, Geckos, Habitat and Enclosures

6 Best Under Tank Heater For Crested Gecko In 2023

Updated On

by The Pet Engineers

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If you don’t live in a cold region, then you probably don’t need a heat mat or an under-tank heater for your crested gecko.

However, if you live in a region where the temperature drops below 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime and below 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Then you need to get a heater for your pet crested gecko.

Best Heating Pads For Crested Geckos

Now we come to the important question: which heating pad should you purchase? There is a huge variety available in the market.

And sometimes, variety can become overwhelming. Here is a list of 6 heating pads with reviews and summaries about their pros and cons to help you make a more informed choice.

  • Top Pick
    Zilla Heat Mat Terrarium Heater

    Zilla Heat Mat Terrarium Heater

    Ideal heat source for desert and tropical reptiles

  • Premium Pick
    Zoo Med ReptiTherm

    Zoo Med ReptiTherm

    Excellent secondary heat source

  • Best Value
    VIVOSUN Upgrade Reptile Heat Mat And Digital Thermostat Combo

    VIVOSUN Upgrade Reptile Heat Mat And Digital Thermostat Combo

    It adds an amazing exotic appeal to the enclosure


Top Pick
Zilla Heat Mat Terrarium Heater

Zilla Heat Mat Terrarium Heater

  • Ideal heat source for desert and tropical reptiles
  • Carbon fiber radiates uniform heating without hot spots and is energy-efficient without wires that can pinch or break

Who should get the Zilla heat mat?

If you have a desert gecko, you should definitely go for it. If you have a crested gecko, you can opt for it too, but don’t forget to get a thermostat.

Who probably shouldn’t get the Zilla heat mat?

If you don’t have something to press on the heat mat from below, you should probably look for another heat mat.

A common problem with this heat mat is that sometimes when there is nothing pressing on it from below, it comes undone and falls off.

Pros

  • It provides uniform heating with no hotspots
  • It has an internal shut-off mechanism for safety

Cons

  • It can only be used for glass enclosures
  • It has vinyl chloride, which is known to be carcinogenic for some people with prolonged exposure
  • It is mostly suitable for desert reptiles

Zoo Med ReptiTherm

Zoo Med ReptiTherm
  • Inexpensive
  • Low wattage heaters
  • Excellent secondary heat source

Who should get the Zoo Med ReptiTherm heat mat?

If you have a small 10 or 20-gallon tank, then this is a good match for you. It is a reliable heating source for tropical reptiles like crested geckos.

Who probably shouldn’t get this heat mat?

If you have a tank that is bigger than 20 gallons, this may not provide adequate heating. So, this won’t be the right match for you.

Pros

  • It is suitable for tropical reptiles, so it is a good match for crested gecko tanks
  • It is relatively inexpensive and low wattage

Cons

  • It does not have a safety feature of internal shut-off
  • It is not suitable for tanks bigger than 20 gallons

VIVOSUN Upgrade Reptile Heat Mat And Digital Thermostat Combo

VIVOSUN Upgrade Reptile Heat Mat And Digital Thermostat Combo
  • High-Quality Construction: With an easy-to-grip hexagonal shape and made of an extra-fortified plastic, components will not rust or malfunction under tough conditions
  •  Use VIVOSUN Digital Thermostat to monitor the temperature of your terrarium

This heat mat comes in combination with a digital thermostat.

Who should get the VIVOSUN heat mat?

Anyone looking for a good combination of thermostat and heating mat can get this product. It has good value for money and will be cheaper than buying a heat mat and a thermostat separately.

Who probably shouldn’t get this mat?

Anyone who has a tank bigger than 20 gallons will not benefit from the heating of this heat mat. In that case, this mat may not be the right choice for you.

Pros

  • The thermostat is compatible with any heat mat.
  • This device is easy to set up.
  • It gives you proper monitoring of the temperature to prevent overheating.

Cons

  • The adhesive is not very reliable

BN-LINK Durable Reptile Heating Pad
  • Simply set the temperature probe, plug-in the controller, and use the large 3-button interface to choose your desired temperature setting.
  • Handy LED heating and power indicator lights allow you to see the controller’s status even in total darkness. 

This is another heating pad that comes with a thermostat.

Who should get the BN-LINK heating pad?

If you are just starting out with a heat mat, this is a good starter kit. Especially if you have a 10-gallon tank, then this is the perfect match for you.

Who probably shouldn’t get this heating pad?

If you have a bigger tank and you want a combined heat mat and thermostat pack, you may be better off with the VIVOSUN heating pad.

This one here is suitable for 10-gallon tanks and won’t provide adequate heating for a bigger tank.

Pros

  • It is easy to set up
  • The UI is easy to use
  • The design is rugged and can handle some minor rough usage such as accidental splashing of some water

Cons

  • As with other heating pads, the adhesive is not very reliable.
  • It is good for small 10-gallon tanks only.

IPower Reptile Heat Pad

IPower Reptile Heat Pad
  • Ideal for use with reptile, lizard, amphibian, small animal or plant terrariums

Who should get the iPower Heat Pad?

If you have a single crested gecko tank of 10 gallons or so, this is a pretty cost-effective heat pad that will provide sufficient heating.

Who probably shouldn’t get this heat pad?

If you live in a colder region and require high heating, or if you have a bigger tank, you may be better off with some other heater like the Zilla heat mat.

Pros

  • This heat pad is energy-efficient
  • It comes with a long 6ft power cord

Cons

  • Unreliable adhesive
  • Not usable for larger tanks

Aiicioo Under Tank Heater Thermostat

Aiicioo Under Tank Heater Thermostat
  • Upgraded adhesive material of under tank heat pad is more solid than similar products in the market.

This heat pad also comes with a thermostat.

Who should get the Aiicioo heat pad?

Anyone looking for a great heat pad and thermostat combination will find great value in this product.

It is good at handling crested gecko tank temperature requirements.

Who should probably not get this heat pad?

If you live in a warmer region, you will either have to provide ventilation in the bottom of the tank, or you’d be better off with some other heater.

Pros

  • It has a simple setup
  • It comes with rubber mounts to elevate your tank
  • The thermostat is pretty reliable and provides precise monitoring

Cons

  • You may need to provide ventilation at the bottom of the tank as well to prevent overheating

What Temperature Is Best For Crested Geckos?

Crested geckos are ideally supposed to be in the range of room temperature.

During the daytime, the temperature of your crested gecko’s enclosure should be between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

During the nighttime, however, the temperature needs to be between 60 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

The enclosure should be heated in a way that there is a gradient of the temperature inside the tank.

There needs to be a basking spot which is the warmest spot inside the tank.

Then gradually the temperature should lead to the coldest spot that allows your crested gecko to cool down when it gets overheated.

During the daytime, the basking spot should not cross 75 degrees Fahrenheit and during the nighttime, the coldest spot should not fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Kind Of Heater Does A Crested Gecko Need?

 Your crested gecko needs a heater that radiates heat. You shouldn’t get a conduction heater for your crested gecko tank.

It is also important to provide a temperature gradient inside the tank.

The entire tank should not have a constant temperature. Instead, aim to create a basking spot that is the warmest, and gradually reduce the temperatures to come to the coolest region in the tank.

This will provide a natural thermal environment because, in the wild, crested geckos are used to moving around to cooler areas when they’re too hot and to warmer areas when they’re too cold.

There are different heating options available for you to choose from:

Heat Lamps

Heat lamps are one of the most common choices by reptile owners. These are basically incandescent bulbs that come with metallic dome reflectors.

The bulb heats up and radiates the heat and the dome concentrates the heat in one spot.

Heat lamps are ideal for making basking spots. Their major shortfall, however, is that you cannot use a heat lamp in the nighttime.

Heat lamps emit bright light and will disrupt the circadian cycle of crested geckos if kept on during the night.

During the daytime, these lamps provide a pretty cost-effective way of heating a crested gecko tank.

Heat Emitters

Heat emitters are ceramic elements that have fixtures like a heat lamp but they don’t emit any visible light.

Even heat emitters are cost-effective in terms of electricity bills, but the one-time cost of buying a heat emitter is more than that of a heat lamp.

The major advantage of a heat emitter is that it doesn’t emit any visible light.

You can easily use a heat emitter during the nighttime without worrying about disrupting your crested gecko’s sleep cycle.

The shortfall, however, is that ceramic heating elements can overheat easily. So you will need to be alert and switch it off before the tank gets overheated.

Heat Panels

Heat panels are plastic or metallic casings that have internal reflectors to reflect infrared rays into the tank.

Infrared rays produce heat without emitting visible light – this is also how ceramic heat emitters produce heat.

Many reptile owners opt for radiant heat panels as they don’t overheat and provide just the right amount of heating required to provide an ambient temperature.

These panels are easy to install and can be used during the day and nighttime. These panels are, however, much more expensive than other heating options.

Heat Pads

Heat pads are quite similar to heat panels, except that they go under the tank and cannot be used for plastic enclosures as they will melt the plastic.

Even heat pads can be used as day/night heating equipment as they, too, emit infrared heat.

But these are riskier and can cause contact burns if you handle them without first checking the temperature.

Heat Tapes and Heat Cables

Heat tapes and heat cables are similar to heat pads. But these are used to heat up a lot of terrariums at once.

So, if you have a single enclosure, you probably won’t need heat tape or a heat cable.

The major shortfall with this equipment is that it requires a lot of electrical connections – so it is not that easy to install or maintain.

Even for multiple terrariums, it becomes easier to use heat emitters, heat panels, or heat lamps.

Heat Rocks

Heat rocks are pretty simplistic heating devices. They are shaped like rocks and just need to be placed inside the enclosure to provide heating.

However, it is highly recommended that you don’t use a heat rock for your crested gecko tank.

This is because your crested gecko will be at risk of burns by coming in contact with the heat rock.

What’s The Best Heat Source For A Crested Gecko?

There are different kinds of heaters available for reptile tanks. For your crested gecko, the best kind of heater is one that has one or more of the following qualities:

  • Provides a heat gradient inside the tank
  • Isn’t heavy on the electricity bill
  • Does not overheat
  • Has the standard size and is easily available in the market
  • Does not emit a very bright light
  • Stays out of reach of crested geckos to avoid risks of burn injuries

Keeping these points in mind, a heat lamp, emitter, or panel is the best heat source for your crested gecko.

How Do You Heat A Crested Gecko Tank?

The first thing that you need for heating your crested gecko tank is a thermostat – because crested geckos are sensitive to excessive heat!

So, don’t ever leave the temperature of the tank on guesswork. Know the precise temperature of your crested gecko tank at all times.

Once you’ve got your thermostat or thermometer set up, the next thing is to choose good heating equipment.

If you are just starting out with a crested gecko, a heat lamp or heat emitter will be a good choice. You simply have to fix it in the enclosure and switch it on.

After that, you need to monitor the temperature of the tank every now and then and ensure to switch off the heater as soon as the tank starts to overheat.

Do Crested Geckos Need An Under Tank Heater?

Ideally, crested geckos do not need any heating equipment at all. They thrive in room temperature conditions.

But if you are living in a colder region, then you may need a piece of heating equipment.

Even then, you won’t need an under-tank heater. There are options available. It will depend on your preferences to choose any given type of heating equipment.

Is The Reptile Under Tank Heater Safe?

With proper precautions, an under-tank heater is pretty safe to use.

Some pointers that can help you ensure the safety of your crested gecko when using an under-tank heater are given below.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines precisely when installing the under-tank heater.
  • Use it with a thermostat to keep a check on the temperature.
  • Do not use flammable substances as your heater’s bedding.
  • Keep flammable things away from the heater.
  • Use the heater for the recommended enclosures only. Under-tank heaters are made for specially designed glass terrariums. You cannot use them with plastic, acrylic, or any other enclosure.

Can Heating Pads Malfunction?

Yes, heating pads can malfunction – and rather dangerously at that!

When you use a heating pad without referring to the manufacturer’s guidelines and without using appropriate precautions such as using a thermostat and keeping flammable materials away, a heating pad can quickly become a fire hazard.

That’s why, when using a heating pad, it is recommended that you exercise extreme caution.

If you are unsure about how to handle a heating pad emergency, it is better to stick to reliable and safer ways of heating such as a ceramic heat emitter.

How To Set An Under Tank Heater Properly

When you use an under-tank heater with proper precautions, it can last you for the entire lifetime of your pet crested gecko.

The steps to properly install and set up an under-tank heater are given below.

1 – Always set an under-tank heater on an empty terrarium.

The ideal time to set up an under-tank heater for an enclosure is when you haven’t brought the crested gecko home yet.

Setting up the heating pad before you get a pet crested gecko will ensure that the homecoming of your pet is free of hassle and stress.

If you are setting up a heating pad or an under-tank heater for your existing crested gecko tank, then the first step you will need to do is to temporarily shift your crested gecko into a separate tank.

The enclosure under which the heater needs to be attached should be empty.

2 – Orient the terrarium properly.

Heating pads and under-tank heaters come with adhesive layers that help them stick to the bottom of the enclosure.

The adhesive is pretty strong and permanent. So, before you stick the under-tank heater to your crested gecko tank, you need to first figure out the proper orientation.

3 – Clean the bottom of the enclosure.

Once you have the orientation figured out, you need to clean the bottom surface of the enclosure thoroughly.

Any contaminants on the glass surface will result in improper adhesion. Any all-purpose glass cleaner will be just fine.

After cleaning, wipe the glass surface with isopropyl alcohol to remove any trace contaminants and make the surface extremely clean and plain.

4 – Stick the heating pad to the enclosure.

Next, you simply need to stick the heating pad to the bottom of the enclosure. Be sure to do this slowly and cautiously as the adhesive is permanent.

So, any disorientation in sticking the under-tank heater can be difficult to correct.

5 – Attach the spacers.

Finally, you need to attach spacers. Spacers are tiny “feet” given for the enclosure.

These are usually made of plastic and are attached to the bottom corners of the tank.

They raise the tank by about a quarter inch to ensure that there is space between the heater and the tabletop.

Summary

Getting a heater for your crested gecko is not a mandate.

But if you are unable to keep the temperatures of the tank within the ideal range, a heating system can greatly help.

Heat mats are easy to install and have a greater lifespan than other heating equipment.

However, they also have the potential to overheat. So, it is always better to be cautious when using a heat pad.

About
The Pet Engineers

A team of pet lovers. We have owned various pets over their years. From dogs to reptiles, etc. Our love of pets, strive to us to create up-to-date and accurate helpful guides on pets.

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