Can a Crested Gecko Live in a 10-Gallon Tank?

If you’re ready to invest in a crested gecko (or several, maybe?), getting the right terrarium is the first step in line.

And when it comes to determining the ‘right’ part, everything boils down to the enclosure’s size. How big should the gecko’s habitat be, and can it thrive in a 10-gallon environment?

A crested gecko can technically live in a 10 gallon tank, but it is not ideal. A 10 gallon tank is too small to provide the necessary space for hiding spots, climbing, and other basking areas a crestie needs. Additionally, a 10 gallon tank does not have enough surface area to provide proper ventilation, which can lead to health problems for your crestie.

On the other side, the gecko’s habitat shouldn’t be too large either for reasons which we will discuss shortly.

Is a 10-Gallon Tank Good for Baby Crested Geckos?

Yes, a 10-gallon tank is appropriate for housing several baby geckos, but only temporarily. As soon as your baby gecko reaches 25 grams in weight, consider moving it into a larger enclosure.

For starters, baby geckos will do just fine in a smaller habitat, provided you properly decorate their environment.

The good thing about baby geckos is that they lack the adults’ hormonal-infused temperament.

So, they’re less likely to fight over food, space, or anything else for a while. Naturally, this will change as they grow and learn their place in the food chain.

It’s worth mentioning that geckos aren’t social animals, so don’t expect them to get along with each other. Not even when they’ve grown together. The experience won’t help them bound one bit.

But can you keep baby geckos in a larger setup? You could, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Baby geckos have the same problem you will find in adult geckos, and that’s lethargy.

Geckos are ectotherms, which is another word for ‘cold-blooded.’ They don’t like to roam around too much and will remain mostly motionless for the most part of the day. They will become more active during nighttime when they begin looking for food.

If the habitat is too big, the baby gecko may have difficulties finding food and water and end up starving as a result. Geckos feel more comfortable in smaller, more constricted setups since it provides them with a sense of security and peace.

So, a 10-gallon vivarium is ideal for your baby crested geckos.

The situation changes a bit as the gecko grows.

What is the Minimum Tank Size for Crested Gecko?

I would say that the minimum terrarium size for a crested gecko is around 20 gallons. The maximum is also around that.

That’s because crested geckos feel rather uncomfortable and unsafe in large and open environments. One of the reasons is their lack of any meaningful defensive mechanisms.

Geckos don’t have a lot of ways to protect themselves against predators, so they will remain motionless to blend in their habitat. A smaller and more compact medium will help them feel more secure.

They also have more difficulties finding food and water if the terrarium is larger than 20 gallons which is also less than ideal.

20 gallons are perfect for one adult gecko, allowing the lizard to control and move around its habitat more effectively.

What Reptiles Can Live in a 10-Gallon Tank?

There aren’t that many reptiles that can thrive in a 10-gallon tank, but there are a few. Here’s the problem, though. Many listicles tackling this issue will also list crested and leopard geckos as viable options, but I would disagree.

While some crested geckos will remain around 5 inches in size, this still doesn’t qualify them for a 10-gallon tank.

If their setup is too small and crowded, the gecko will display signs of stress and apathy, which can cause an array of additional problems. The same happens if the vivarium is too large, over 40 gallons, for instance.

So, eliminate crested geckos off the list of potential candidates for 10-gallon setups.

Here are better alternatives instead:

  • The pygmy chameleon – This tiny fella only grows up to 3.5 inches, so it doesn’t need a lot of space to feel comfortable and at ease. Especially since these reptiles prefer a heavily planted habitat. So, a 10-gallon terrarium will probably feel immense for a 3-inch pygmy chameleon getting lost in all the lush greenery. Just beware, these reptiles are a bit more difficult to care for due to their predilection for specific temperature and humidity parameters. Avoid them if you’re a beginner.
  • Kenyan sand boa – This snake grows up to 30 inches, even in captivity. You could say that 10 gallons are too few for such a meaty snake, but you would be wrong. This reptile isn’t too active to begin with and prefers a sandy vivarium. That’s because it will spend much of its time buried in the sand, warming up and waiting for prey to come by. A 10-gallon vivarium is typically enough for a sand boa, but feel free to change it up. If your snake grows too large and tries to climb its habitat walls too often, maybe it needs more space.
  • The house gecko – If snakes are not your soft spot and prefer geckos instead, consider this adorable specimen. The house gecko only grows up to half of the crested gecko’s size, reaching 3-5 inches at most. This qualifies it for a 10-gallon setup since geckos don’t need too much space, no matter the species they belong to. Even better, you can keep several house gecko females in a 10-gallon terrarium. Notice I said females because males are extremely territorial. You shouldn’t keep them in the same habitat.
  • The Anole – The Anole is a green arboreal gecko, the equivalent of a peacock in the reptile world. That’s due to the reptile’s dewlap (a throat fan, usually pink in coloring) that the males will use to intimidate other males and grab the female’s attention. These are territorial lizards that will grow between 5 and 8 inches. Since they live in trees, their habitat needs to be vertical, and 10 gallons suffice since the Anole isn’t that active, to begin with.

You can obviously find several other reptiles to consider for your 10-gallon tank, so only take this list as a general recommendation.

Conclusion

Crested geckos need more than 10 gallons to thrive, although you might find conflicting information on this topic.

I recommend investing in a 20-gallon terrarium, even if your gecko is rather small. The lizard will grow larger over the years with proper care, an optimized diet, and when provided with ideal living conditions.

Such habitat is ideal for keeping your gecko happy and healthy for decades to come.

Crested Geckos   Reptiles   Updated: November 17, 2022
avatar I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets.
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