The Best Size Terrarium For a Leopard Gecko (What to Know)

If you’re looking for the right sized terrarium to get your leopard gecko, then you’re in the right place. Space is everything for your gecko and if they don’t have enough of it, they can become very stressed out as a result.  There is a lot of false information regarding this topic and because of that, I want to share with you what I know so that you can get what’s right for your leopard gecko. So, in this article I’m going to talk about the best size terrarium for a leopard gecko. 

What’s the best size terrarium for a leopard gecko?

The minimum size tank for a leopard gecko is a 10 gallon, though you’ll need a 20 gallon tank for an adult leopard gecko. This makes a 20 gallon tank the best size tank for a leopard gecko. In addition, you can keep up to 3 geckos in a 20 gallon tank so if you ever decide to get another one you’re all set. 

Having said that, having an even larger tank can benefit your gecko(s). Some leopard gecko owners insist that a 40 gallon tank should be used for adult leopard geckos.

Make sure your leopard gecko has a big enough tank

Leopard geckos don’t only need space for comfortability purposes, but also because they have a lot of equipment that takes up a lot of room as well.  They’re animals that enjoy their space and because they come from the wild where they have tons of it to roam around in, it’s best that we’re getting the appropriate sized terrarium for our geckos so that they can feel right at home.

The truth of the matter is that leopard geckos can be housed in terrariums that are 50+ gallons deep but because 20 gallons is the size that leopard geckos of all ages can be housed in, that, in my opinion, is the best-sized terrarium out there.

10 gallons are great for babies but what a lot of owners don’t know is that even they can be housed in terrariums that are 20 gallons deep.  Think about it, if leopard geckos originate from the wild where they have all of this space to walk around in without any kind of limitations don’t you think that they can handle being in a 20-gallon terrarium?

Many people think that 20 gallons is too large for baby geckos, but over the years, many owners have proven that to just simply not be true.  If you’d like to house your baby gecko in a 10-gallon terrarium and work your way up as they get older, that’s just fine, but just remember that starting off with 20 gallons is also fine as well.

[su_box title=”Best terrarium for leopard geckos” box_color=”#59e126″]This 20 gallon terrarium from Exo Terra is one of the best leopard gecko starter tanks out there. [/su_box]

Best small leopard gecko tanks

If you’re just now looking into getting a leopard gecko and you’d rather start small and get a 10-gallon terrarium over a 20-gallon terrarium to get a feel for what it’s like to be a gecko owner first before going any bigger, then 10 gallons is just fine.  Just remember that only baby geckos can be housed in these things though.

The reasons 10 gallons isn’t enough for leopard geckos any older than babies is because it doesn’t provide them with the space needed in order to move around the terrarium comfortably.  And if they aren’t comfortable in their own terrariums, then they will become heavily stressed out.

The reason for this is because after placing all of their equipment in the terrarium including their 3 hides, water and food bowls, calcium dish, and any decorations that you might want to add, it doesn’t give your leopard gecko a whole lot of room left to freely move around and explore their environment.

They’ll feel cramped, irritable, and maybe even ill due to their immune systems being weakened from all of the stress.  So with that said, if you have a leopard gecko that’s anywhere from 0 to 2 months old, then 10 gallons will do you just fine.  Anything older than 2 months though and you will need to have them in a larger terrarium.

Here’s the 10-gallon terrarium that I recommend, check it out on Amazon.  The only issue I have with that terrarium is that it comes with carpet substrate and with carpet not only can leopard geckos get their nails caught in it but it’s hard to clean as well.

For a replacement substrate to that, I suggest checking out this stuff here called Eco Earth.  It’s the substrate that I use and my leopard gecko and I absolutely love it.

Ok, so I should get a 20 gallon tank right?

If you have yet to get a terrarium and you’re stuck between what size you want to get, then the 20-gallon terrarium will be your best bet to start with.  If you have a baby gecko, then the 10-gallon terrarium can work too.

The reason for that is because having smaller terrariums and working your way up over time as you get more and more comfortable with your leopard gecko will allow you to experience what it’s like to take care of leopard geckos in much smaller areas so that you can feel more confident taking care of them in areas that are much larger in the future.

Jumping right into the largest terrariums out there probably isn’t the best idea if you’re a new leopard gecko owner but if you do decide to do it then just know that it can be done.  You’ll have to perform the same maintenance and do everything else that you would have to do in a smaller terrarium, so really, it’s completely up to you whether or not you want to go with a bigger terrarium or not.

What about bigger than 20 gallons?

If 20 gallons isn’t enough and you’d like to go a little bigger then there are options out there that will give you just what you’re looking for.  Some owners like to have larger terrariums for a couple of reasons and these reasons usually include giving their leopard gecko a little more space to roam around, the ability to add more decorations, or to have more space for cohabiting or breeding.

If you’re an owner who wants to do any one of those three things, then getting a larger terrarium will probably be a much better option for you.  That said, if that sounds like more of what you’re looking for, then take a look at this 40-gallon terrarium from Amazon.

40 gallons is massive, but when you’re dealing with leopard geckos, you really can’t go too big.  As long as they have all the equipment needed in order to survive and feel safe, then large terrariums are just fine.

As stated above, they’re used to roaming around in large, endless deserts in the wild, so really, 40 gallons of space to them is nothing.  If your someone who wants to try and house two leopard geckos together then this is actually the perfect size.

Leopard geckos will either get along very well or not get along at all so if you put two of them in a terrarium together that’s large enough to give them both their space then you may be able to pull it off.  Because there’s always that chance that things won’t work out though, it’s recommended that you have another terrarium that’s at least 20 gallons large for backup.


All in all, there really is no “best” terrarium size out there but if there was, then 20 gallons would definitely be it.  Just remember that which terrarium you get will be completely dependent on the size of your leopard gecko and your own personal goals so before getting one, take those things into heavy consideration.

Logically, larger terrariums are much better because they give your leopard gecko a lot more space to explore in, but in all actuality, having one doesn’t add a ton of extra benefit to your leopard gecko’s life.  That said, if you do go larger, only get it if you absolutely need it.

If you want to deck out your terrarium with tons of decorations and hides or house more than one leopard gecko in a single enclosure, then a 40-gallon terrarium will be your best friend.

Other than that though, 20 gallons will be just fine for giving you and your leopard gecko what they need in order to live a safe and comfortable life.  Just remember that if you decide to get a 10-gallon terrarium first, only get it if you have a leopard gecko that’s no older than 2 months.

It would be extremely disappointing to get one that size just to find out that it’s not big enough for what your leopard gecko needs to live comfortably.

I’m Devin Nunn, an average joe that just so happens to have a deep love and passion for everything to do with reptiles. Because taking care of them for the vast majority of my life wasn’t fulfilling enough, I decided to begin educating others about them through my articles. read more...