It is amazing how often new reptile owners are given horrible advice by a store attendant lacking knowledge. You go to the store to buy a gecko or other lizard, and then they sell you a fish aquarium starter kit as the home. A reptile aquarium has very different needs than a fish aquarium. Make sure you get the right home for your new pet.
A reptile aquarium has basically only one thing in common with a fish aquarium. They are both glass-sided enclosures. A fish aquarium needs to hold water, where a reptile aquarium needs to hold the proper habitat materials for a reptile. Your reptile is going to need sand, soil, vegetation, rocks, and logs to make their home comfortable. Depending on your type of reptile, they may also need a large bowl of water which allows total submersion, or a much smaller bowl for drinking and basic bathing.
A good pet store, or online pet supply site, is going to have starter kits designed specifically for a reptile. Here are a few of the major differences you will find in a reptile starter kit over the more common fish starter kit. Keep in mind different reptiles need different habitats. Let us look at a couple starter kits, one for the Leopard Gecko, and another for Turtles.
The Leopard Gecko starter kit includes a single 5” clamp light, an under tank heater, sand scoops, two thermometers, hygrometer, spray bottle, calcium supplement, and the leopard gecko guide.
The Turtle starter kit should include a couple 5” clamp lights, a water filtration system, strip thermometer, tube thermometer, turtle food, and guide.
Both kits include an exact duplicate aquarium tank. Let us take a closer look at what is in these kits to give you a better understanding of your reptiles needs.
The Gecko kit includes only one light to provide illumination and some heat to the aquarium. The under tank heater is the primary heat source to keep your Gecko warm and active. The sand scoop indicates the primary surface of the tank will need to be covered in sand. The two thermometers allow you to monitor both air temperature and sand temperature. The hygrometer helps you keep an eye on the tanks humidity levels which are critical to the Geckos health. The spray bottle is used to add moisture to the tank and air. Your Gecko requires calcium for proper health. You will need to buy the sand, rocks, plants, and a log separately from the kit to provide the proper habitat.
The Aquatic Turtle kit switches everything up. Your turtle requires water and land. The system includes two lights to provide the necessary lighting and heat for the tank. The two thermometers allow you to monitor air and water temperature. The filtration system lets you keep the water clean. Basic turtle food is included to get you started. You will need to add vegetation and a proper rock system to allow your turtle to bathe their body in the light.
Each type of reptile has slightly different physical and habitat needs. Make sure you understand their specific needs and include them in your reptile aquariums. Without the proper vegetation, sunning areas, and even areas for hiding, your reptiles will not be happy and healthy. When someone recommends buying a tropical fish starter kit just walk away and find a better store. You need to have the confidence you are dealing with knowledgeable reptile supply center to help you have success with your new pets.