For many people, I think this question is one that comes up often, and I can totally see why. When you buy a tank, you want to know exactly how far you can push it before having to buy a new one so that you get the most bang for your buck. Which isn’t bad, because that’s what we all should do. But when you want to expand or when your gecko gets older, sometimes you have to invest in a larger tank.
How many leopard geckos can live in a 10-gallon tank? Two, but they have to be no older than 2 months old each. Once they get past that age, they will grow bigger and become too crowded in a tank that size.
I’m all for pushing things to the limit, but when it comes to leopard geckos, this can actually be a bad thing. Leopard geckos need certain requirements in order to live comfortably and without these requirements, it can make living very hard and stressful for them. With that said, here’s some more information that I think can really help you out.
Are 10 Gallons Large Enough for an Adult?
No. Like stated above, this tank size can be good for 1 to 2 baby leopard geckos, but anything larger than that will require a bigger tank. If your leopard geckos are any longer than about 4 inches or are older than 2 months, then I would go ahead and upgrade.
Juvenile and adult geckos need a lot more space than babies do and can get fairly uncomfortable if they’re unable to move around freely. Not only that but as they get older, they also need bigger hides to rest in. Watching an adult gecko try to squeeze into a small hide is not a pretty site to see because when they try to do this they can’t even get their whole body to fit in it.
With that said, hides are very important pieces of equipment and your leopard gecko NEEDS them in order to survive. Without them, they would have no way to hide from the heat, nowhere to shed at without their being shedding issues, and would have nowhere to feel safe and, therefore, stress-free.
If you’re looking to get a leopard gecko (or any gecko’s really) and want to fit one or two babies inside of a 10-gallon tank, then I recommend this Zilla Starter Kit. That’s all you’ll need for when they’re in their infancy stage, but because they grow so fast, you might find that you’ll have to upgrade very quickly after getting one.
Not only that, but the hides you have inside will also have to be upgraded as well. Luckily, those are fairly cheap. This gecko cave is absolutely great for getting the job done. For a baby, though, make sure you get a small size. Anything bigger will be a little too much for them.
The Perfect Tank Size
To be honest, there’s no such thing as the perfect tank size, it just comes down to how many leopard geckos you have and how old they are. You can get a 10-gallon tank, but after 2 months, you WILL have to upgrade. For a single adult gecko, this is a great tank from Eco Terra. It’s the one I currently use and love. It’s 20 gallons and will comfortably fit 1 fully grown ( or multiple babies ) gecko in it.
If you have two geckos, unfortunately, you’ll have to get a separate tank. There have been times where people have had success with housing a female and a male together, which is what I recommend sometimes to those who want to house their geckos together, but there are also others who have had bad experiences with it.
So if you’re not comfortable taking that risk, then I recommend getting another tank just in case you have to house them in different spaces if they end up getting too aggressive with each other or if you just want each of them to have their own area altogether.
Also, when having two geckos in one tank, you’ll need double the hides because even a large hide can’t comfortably provide shelter for two geckos at the same time, so that’s another reason that you might want to consider getting another tank. Because of the extra expenses and care that it takes when owning two leopard geckos, I think this is why most people just stick to one until they’re more experienced and ready to expand.
20-gallons isn’t the perfect tank size, but it is the most ideal size for your fully grown and baby geckos. Anything under that is just too small for them to stay in long term without having to upgrade.
Consequences of Overcrowding
When you put a leopard gecko in a space that is too small for them, then you will find out pretty quickly that they aren’t happy because they will show it in their behavior. They can be in a state of stress from not being able to move around freely, they won’t be able to use their hides properly for serious things like shedding, and they will even be more prone to certain diseases and illnesses because of a weakened immune system from excessive stress (yes, it gets that bad).
Not only that but if they are paired up with another gecko, then there will also be a lot of fighting going on because of the lack of space and also because having to try and share a hide. These fights can get pretty serious and will result in bad injuries or death simply for the fact that they’re on top of ( literally ) each other constantly.
Leopard geckos are animals that are used to having all the space in the world when out in the wild, so when you confine them to areas so small, it takes them out of their element and makes them react in a negative way because that is not how they were born to live.
Stress itself won’t kill them, but what happens to them because of it can. When we stress out, we might feel a little under the weather for a little while or at the very worst catch a cold because of our immune systems being lowered, but when they stress, they develop diseases like crypto.
That is something that they contract when the stress becomes too heavy and they can’t handle it anymore. It can be present in their bodies for quite some time, but it won’t show its head until your leopard geckos immune system has been severely lowered.
If you’d like to read more about this disease, then click here to go to an article that I wrote covering the topic and scroll down to the section called ” CRYPTO “. That might give you a better idea of how serious this disease actually is and can get.
When to Upgrade Your Tank
Okay, we now know that it’s time to get a bigger tank once your leopard gecko enters its juvenile and adult stage, but will you need to upgrade anymore than that after getting at least a 20-gallon tank? Absolutely not. While you can upgrade, it’s not necessary.
They’re not like other reptiles that grow to great lengths, they stop at around 9 to 12 inches once they’ve grown fully into adulthood within roughly a years time. Which is great for owners who want a pet that isn’t too small but at the same time not too big either.
The time in which you upgrade your tank will be whenever you feel like upgrading or whenever you want to invest in something that’s better quality even. But as far as getting anything past 20 gallons, I wouldn’t worry about it. This is adequate enough for one full-sized gecko for the rest of their life and will be comfortable in it as long as they’re taken care of.
If in the future you want to get a larger tank and add more equipment to it, then feel free. But until that day comes, the 20-gallon will be just what you need to get the job done. Anything larger than that is just a bonus.
One thing I do recommend, though, is getting at least a 30-35 gallon tank if you ever want to try and attempt housing a male and a female together. Like stated above, some have had success with this, while some haven’t. So, keep an eye on your geckos just in case you have to separate them if they ever begin to start fighting.
Knowing How Many Geckos to Have per Tank
If you want to try housing a male with multiple females or maybe just females only, then keep in mind that for every gecko you’ll need a tank that’s at least 5 gallons larger. This is because leopard geckos need their space, and the more geckos you have in a tank, the less space they get.
So, keep that in mind whenever you’re thinking of owning multiple geckos. 20-gallon tanks are pretty large and they do, in fact, comfortably house an adult gecko, but if you try to pack in too many geckos in a tank that size then you will have the same issue as you would with the 10-gallon tank. Not only that, but the number of hides also have to be taken into consideration as well when buying a new tank.
For example, if you have two leopard geckos in one tank then that will equal to 6 hides. If you have three leopard geckos in a tank then that will equal to 9 hides. So for every gecko, not only does the tank size increase, but you’re also having to buy three pretty sizeable extra hides just so they won’t be fighting over them.
That may sound ridiculous, but leopard geckos spend a lot of time in their hide, so there’s never much time for sharing between them. On top of all of that, you will also have more poop to pick up and will likely need more food, calcium, D3, and substrate each month to comfortably take care of them.
I personally only own one leopard gecko, and if I ever decide to get more, I’m getting a separate tank. But if you do happen to get another gecko for your existing tank, then keep in mind that the most common amount of geckos per tank that I’ve seen is two at the very max.
Leopard geckos are low maintenance and easy to take care of, but the more you get, the more problems you’ll likely run into. Your monthly expenses might even increase quite a bit from month-to-month as well.
Can a Tank Be Too Big?
Nope. There’s no such thing as a tank that’s too big as long as you keep your temperatures even and your gecko knows where its food and hides are. Just think, leopard geckos are used to living in the desert, so having them in a large tank isn’t going to cause problems for them. If anything, they’ll love you for it for giving them extra space.
I have seen many people who have had their geckos in tanks that are 50+ gallons large and have had absolutely zero issues with that kind of setup. At this point, we know that 10-gallons is too small for most leopard geckos unless they are babies, but luckily, there isn’t a tank that is too big. Anything 20 gallons and up is ideal, but don’t go too wild with the tank sizes.
They’re not like bearded dragons who need 120+ gallon tanks, but at the same time, they can live a comfortable life inside of a pretty large tank as long as the setup is good.
Are Smaller Tanks Better?
In my honest opinion, no, but they do work great when your leopard gecko is small. Once they get older it’s not so much of if they’re better or not, but if they’re safer. And as we now know that they aren’t for larger geckos, then I think it’s safe to say that they’re not safer.
If we’re talking about if a 20-gallon tank is better than a 100-gallon tank, though, then I would say it doesn’t matter that much. As long as they have enough room to comfortably roam the tank and they don’t in any way feel cramped and have good hideouts to go in when they need to, then anything that’s 75-100 gallons large is just as good as a tank that’s 20-gallons in terms of housing just one gecko.
If you’re ever stuck between a 20-gallon tank and a 100-gallon tank, then take into consideration your leopard geckos size, the amount of substrate you’ll need, how much more heat your tank will require, and how much space it will take in your room or wherever you have it located.
Even though a baby gecko can do good in a tank that’s 20 gallons, it might be a little intimidating for it if that’s the very first tank it’s ever been in. Don’t quote me on that, though, because I’m sure people have done it. I just haven’t seen it yet.
As far as the other stuff goes, you’ll definitely want to take all of those factors into consideration because they are all very important to your leopard geckos health.
Which Two Geckos Can Live Together?
Multiple females can live together with or without a male, but when it comes to two males living together, it’s not possible. Male leopard geckos are very territorial animals and will go at it when sharing a tank together.
Does that mean that females can’t sometimes be feisty with each other? No, they are completely capable of being just as aggressive as males, but with them, they’re a lot more likely to get along than if you were to put two males together.
It wouldn’t matter if you had the largest tank in the world, they would still find a way to mess with each other. If one male leopard geckos spots another male leopard gecko then it’s a given that they will fight. Even if they are in a tank that’s 100 gallons large. They like their space and want to always be the one and only dominant creature in it, even if there is a ton of room.
Although you can house leopard geckos in a 10-gallon tank, I almost find it pointless just simply for the fact that shortly after you’ll need to upgrade because of how fast they grow. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t get one, but you should choose the best decision now so that you won’t have to deal with it later on in the very near future.
Two baby geckos can live in a 10-gallon tank, but as they get older, not even one adult will be able to comfortably live in it. So in my opinion, I don’t think it’s worth the investment. I think it’s best to get the larger tank and then upgrade as you see fit in the future if you ever feel inclined to. Feel free to do whatever you feel is the best option for, though.