Can a Leopard Gecko Live in a 10 Gallon Tank? (And Should They?)

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If there’s something every leopard needs, it’s enough space to wander around. So is a 10-gallon tank enough? Well, that’s what we are going to talk about today.

A 10-gallon tank is the smallest a leopard gecko can live in. However, this tank size will be more suitable for a baby leopard gecko – an adult would do better in a 20-gallon tank. Never place two leopard geckos in a 10-gallon tank, whatever the case. 

Keeping Leopard Geckos in a 10-Gallon Tank

For most adult leopard geckos, 5 to 10-gallon tanks are tight spaces – they won’t allow them to roam and shed as freely as they would like.

As such, these tanks are usually left for baby geckos. And even then, since leopard geckos grow fast, you will still need to replace these tanks in a few months.

Ultimately, it’s better to get your baby gecko a 20 to 30-gallon tank and watch them grow into it. This will give them more room to explore and save you from the hassle of having to switch tanks after a short time.

Transferring geckos from one tank to another is particularly hard because they don’t like change. The whole process can stress them out, especially when they’re already used to and attached to their tank.

Can a tank be too big?

While it’s tempting to get your leopard gecko the largest tank possible, it’s a bad idea. Extra-large tanks confuse, disorient, and stress out leopard geckos

They can even get lost while looking for specific things in the tank. Ideally, your leopard gecko should be able to find its water, food, hides, and other necessities without any stress. That’s why the maximum tank size for a single leopard gecko should be 30 gallons. 

Can you house several leopard geckos in one tank?

While you can successfully house several leopard geckos in one tank, it’s risky – conflict can arise. To mitigate this, you will need to ensure the tank you have is big enough. You will need to add at least 5 gallons for every additional gecko. This usually adds up to at least 30 gallons. However, we recommend a 40-gallon tank if you are looking to house more than one leopard gecko.

Also, you need to remember that leopard geckos don’t do well in large groups. Your leopard gecko would do best alone or with at most two roommates. When more than three leopard geckos live in a single tank, it can be hard to find a space to retreat to when they’re threatened or stressed out. 

However, some research does suggest that housing several leopard geckos together can make them more active and social. This is attributed to the fact that leopard geckos live in colonies in the wild and can share their resting places with others. But even then, some rules need to be followed for leopard geckos to live peacefully in one tank.

Unless you want baby leopard geckos, you will have to ensure that males and females aren’t placed in the same tank. Also, you can only place one male in a tank. Since male leopard geckos are territorial, they are prone to competing with other males for space, food, and other amenities. This can quickly escalate to them fighting as a show of dominance. 

Interestingly, this is also an issue that arises when you house leopard geckos of varying sizes together. The larger ones can try to dominate the smaller ones and start harassing them. Housing female leopard geckos of the same size isn’t a walk in the park either. Their personalities can clash, leading to fights. 

Even housing babies together is a risk – some may grow up faster and try to dominate the others. Ultimately, the risks involved with keeping two or more leopards in one tank far outweigh any advantages it presents. 

What are the signs that your leopard gecko’s tank is inadequate?

When a leopard gecko lives in too small a tank, they become stressed, anxious, and unhappy. As such, they exhibit behaviors like:

  • Troubles with shedding – you will notice that your gecko has bits of half shed skin on their toes, limbs, and other body parts.
  • Avoiding heat sources – you will notice that they spend their days in their hides instead.
  • Barking, hissing, and other sounds even though they are by themselves in the tank
  • Aggression and insistent pacing 
  • Stunted growth – this will happen in extreme cases.

Which is the best material for a leopard gecko’s tank?

Glass is the best and most readily available material for leopard gecko vivariums. Not only are glass tanks resistant to heat and water, but they’re also easy to set up. This makes them a great choice for anyone who is keeping a leopard gecko for the first time. 

Another thing that makes glass a great material is that it provides a suitable surface to place thermometers and decorations. You can easily use silicone adhesives and suction cups for decorating. 

Beyond that, glass is hard and can handle a lot of weight while still easy to clean and move. Since it’s transparent, it also makes it easy to watch your leopard gecko and spend time with it from a distance. And if you have a runner on your hands, it will be difficult for them to climb up glass walls. This makes glass tanks particularly better than wire cages that leopard geckos can easily get out of.

Worse still, wire cages can hurt your gecko during their escape attempt. It’s therefore not surprising that glass tanks are more expensive than most vivariums on the market. 

They are defeated only by wood vivariums which are hard to find yet great for leopard geckos. While wood vivariums don’t allow you to watch your leopard gecko, they provide the privacy these reptiles need.

Also, they are better heat insulators than glass ones as they can heat up to higher temperatures without cracking. This makes them great for pet owners who live in extremely cold areas.

All you have to do is ensure you get a vivarium made of reptile-safe wood and place it somewhere it will get access to sunlight. Some suitable wood options include oak, birch, magnolia, melamine, marine plywood, and oriented strand board.

You need to remember one thing when it comes to wood vivariums, though – they easily absorb water and odors. So if you don’t treat and seal them properly, they can start rotting. 

Fortunately, unlike tropical gecko species, leopard geckos like dry environments and won’t have any problem with sealed and treated wood. 

Final thoughts

Whether you have a baby gecko or a fully-fledged adult, it’s always great to opt for a 20 to 30-gallon glass tank. This will save you money in the long run and keep you from constantly having to worry about your pet’s comfort. 

Ultimately, it’s a one-time investment that is worth it for both of you. And if you ever have the unrelenting urge to get another leopard gecko, do your best to get them their own vivarium. Trust us, the potential havoc that can be caused by placing the two of them together isn’t worth it!


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