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I’m getting a leopard gecko and I’m trying to research as much as I can. I have a 20 gallon glass terrarium, will use paper towels as a substrate and I will also use a thermostat to adjust temperatures. I’ve been debating to either use a ceramic heat emitter or a heat mat because I have noticed some pros and cons in both.

My problems with the CHE are that I don’t know which fixture to use. I know ceramic domes should be used but as I research I encounter people who have had domes that destroy their CHEs and CHEs that destroy their domes so I’m really confused to what to do.

Now the heat mats. There is only one type of heat mat that I’ve seen where I live and I’m not sure if it’s the correct one. I’m also afraid that the mat eventually cracks the glass from my terrarium or malfunctions and burns my gecko.

Which option should I take? Which is safer? If I decide to go with the CHE, which dome should I use? And if I decide heat mats, is the one that I listed here okay? Thank you and sorry for so many questions :)

CooperDragon Sicko
Staff member
I don't know what's best for the gecko but I can help with the fixture. A CHE gets very hot so using a ceramic base is needed as you mentioned. Aside from that just get a dome fixture that is rated to handle the wattage of your CHE. I use these and like them but one of the domes from the pet store would work too. Just keep the bulb from touching any surfaces other than the socket. I prefer these for that reason they don't get so hot to the touch but still produce a good amount of heat.

If you go with a heat mat, I would attach it to a thermostat to help prevent it from overheating and causing harm. If you have a heat mat on the bottom of the tank it's a good idea to set the tank up on a rack or something so air can flow under the mat and keep it from malfunctioning.

Taterbug Addict
Either, or both should work fine. I like to offer overhead heating to all my reptiles, on thermostats. Heat pads can be a good supplement for keeping the warm hide toasty, but a heat pad cannot heat the air very well, so especially if your room is cool, you need a over head heat source to get a good gradient.
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