Do Crested Geckos Need a Heat Lamp?

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Setting up a crested gecko’s tank can be difficult if you’ve never done it before. It is particularly tricky figuring out which type of heat source to use. Does your gecko even need heat lamps – are they essential? 

Crested geckos don’t need heat lamps. Crested Geckos thrive in moderate temperatures between 69 to 80 Fahrenheit. If you need to heat your tank to reach this, there are more efficient methods. 

What are heat lamps best used for?

Because of their ability to concentrate light and heat on one spot, heat lamps are great for reptile owners with large tanks. If your crested gecko is in a standard tank, it doesn’t help to use a heat lamp unless you live in a cold area. 

After all, crested geckos thrive in moderate temperatures of 69 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Their ideal daytime temperature is between 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, while the ideal nighttime temperature is between 60 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

 In many areas across the world, these are the room temperatures anyway, making using a heat lamp redundant. 

How do you use a heat lamp for your crested gecko’s tank?

Since heat lamps concentrate heat on one spot, it’s important to ensure that they only serve a section of the tank. 

Your crested gecko needs a cool area that it can go to relax after staying in the heat for a while. Another thing to keep in mind when using heat lamps is to turn them off at night. 

If left on, they will affect your crested gecko’s nighttime activities and can even disrupt its sleep cycle. 

It’s also important to limit the amount of time you leave the heat lamp on during the day – one to three hours is enough. Anything more can end up making the whole tank hot and overheating your crested gecko. This can also lower the humidity of the tank by drying out the air there. 

What are the pros of using a heat lamp?

The main advantages of using a heat lamp for your crested gecko’s tank are:

  • They are durable
  • They are easy to use and calibrate for temperature
  • They provide a great basking light
  • They make it easy to heat large tanks

What are the cons of using a heat lamp?

The main disadvantages of using a heat lamp for your crested gecko’s tank are:

  • They can easily overheat the tank and cause fires
  • They can’t be used at night
  • They consume a lot of electricity

How do you choose the right heat lamp for your crested gecko’s tank?

To ensure that you get the right heat lamp for your crested gecko, you need to look at 3 main qualities. These are:

Material of construction

This is the greatest determinant of a heat lamp’s quality. Some materials commonly used to make heat lamps are wood, metal, and plastic. However, if there’s one material that has proved itself undefeated, it has to be ceramic. For one, this material is cute and durable. 

More importantly, ceramic reduces the risk of overheating and fires. So if you can’t find a heat lamp that’s completely made of ceramic, at least look for one with a ceramic base. 


If there’s one thing you should know, it’s that the higher the wattage of a heat lamp, the higher the temperature it produces. 

So if you choose one with low wattage, you will have to keep checking if your desired temperatures have been reached. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide the exact wattage you can handle depending on the size of the tank you have and the number of geckos in it.

Heat regulation

It’s always advisable to go for a heat lamp that allows you to adjust the resulting temperature. 

Such lamps allow you to set the temperature you want in one go – some even have a feature that shuts off the lamp when temperatures get too high. 

Without this feature, you’ll have to check the tank temperature using a thermometer and turn the light on or off as required. This is a hassle many of us would rather avoid. 

What heating alternatives can you use for your crested gecko’s tank? 

A ceramic heat emitter is the best heat lamp alternative for crested gecko tanks. 

These heaters don’t produce light and are more durable than bulbs. And as long as you choose those that have thermostats, you can use them without fear of overheating. Ultimately, they are a great 24/7 heating option. 

Another viable alternative is heat mats. But keep in mind that since crested geckos can climb, they need vertical as well as horizontal heating – something that heat mats can’t provide. 

As such, using heat mats is only a great option in cases where vertical heating is already guaranteed.

Final thoughts 

No matter how you look at it, heat lamps aren’t necessary for crested gecko tanks. 

In fact, these lamps can even increase the risk of your reptile overheating. So please don’t use them unless you don’t have any other option. 

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