Day gecko (Phelsuma grandis)

Albert and his nameless mate. He lived to be 15 years old.


The bottom half is an aquarium inside a custom wood frame with double-glass and insulation. (A friend of mine built this)

The wooden frame holds insulation and a second layer of glass. This was originally built for a small tropical snake. Artwork is to hide insulation.


The top-part is my custom extension to enlarge the setup without losing the original tank, which I like very much.

Upper story is redwood framework with screen top and one side for incandescent lamp and easy misting. Rest of the sides are plexiglass screwed to the framework.

Left front panel is hinged for easy access for small maintenance tasks. For thorough cleaning I catch the geckos and take everything apart every few weeks.

Humidity gauge. Lower in cage is a thermometer and humidity gauge. I mist 2-3 times a day which, with the plants keeps the humidity between 50-70 percent. (Pretty good, considering that I live in California... .)

In winter I cover the side-screen with another plexi-glass flap and cover the top and sides with insulating material or just cling warp to keep the temperature up.

Potted plants include a snake plant which the geckos love. I’ve had trouble keeping the plants alive, so I am also using silk and plastic plants with large leaves.Tank furniture includes bamboo branches.

Eggs have been laid in the snake plant, the bamboo, and the silk plant.

Food hangs in small jar (from baby food) on a wire and is tilted so the powder doesn't get wet during misting.

Lighting and Heating: Originally used a 100 Watt incandescend bulb, which I later replaced with a ceramic heat element that is on all the time, except when the thermostat turns it off, and added a ReptiSun 5.0 fluorescent bulb to provide better lighting since my day geckos do not get to go outdoors. A timer and a thermostat automatically regulate light and temperature. This rather pleases them!

Substrate: Originally used newspaper or paper towels. This worked well to make visible any droppings. However, I had to use a system of double floors (chasing the geckos to the upper half of the enclosure) every time I needed to clean the cage, which was about once a week. While sanitary, this substrate is ugly and unnatural, and it does not hold any humidity.

At a friend's house I saw more natural gecko vivaria. Inspired by his setups I replaced the paper substrate with cocos fiber (I’ve also used a dirt/sand mixture successfully).

I planted plants directly into the substrate.

I water the substrate once a week and then let it dry out a bit to prevent mold. I "garden" about once a week, to mix up the soil and move any droppings into the soil which fertilizes the plants. (The geckos rarely walk on the substrate.)

This makes cleaning very quick and simple, and the humidity stays higher. (I live in CA and we low humidity here.) I mist from twice a day to every other day, depending on weather.

In this substrate, crickets will breed. This is a curse and a blessing as small crickets can escape through cracks and infest the house.

Recommended care book:

Day Geckos (General Care, Maintenance and Breeding Series)