Asian grass lizard Terrarium

All reptiles need their terrarium to be set up, suiting to the environment and climate that you’ll find in their natural habitat. In the case of Takydromus sexlineatus there are two mistakes made a lot by beginners. Some make the terrarium too dry (sand substrate, no moist areas) and others too wet. Too many tropical forest plants, big water parts and too moist substrate.

Devide the terrarium into a dryer area and a moist area where the dryer area is bigger then the moist one. For specific needs read the set up requirements below.

Size

For one couple: 60x50x60/70 cm For a group of 6: 120x50x60/70 cm Length x depth x hight

Light

baskinglamp / spotlamp providing the right heat. Always check it out for a few weeks before you put your lizards in when you are not experienced. For a 60x50x60 terrarium you’ll need 40 or 50 watt. Depending on the lamp and your terrarium. The maximum heat in the terrarium should be 30 degrees Celsius (close to the basking spot) and at the cold spot (far away from the basking spot) should be at least 22 degrees Celsius.

Night heating. If the temperature doesn’t go under 18 degrees Celsius  you don’t need to place any heating panels or other kinds of night heating. If it does, place a heat panel in the side of the terrarium, not underneath the bottom, or place a ceramic lamp with a low warming capacity. fluorescent lighting TL or PLL. Next to warmth, a diurnal living lizard needs light. If you have plants in the terrarium the strength of light is important to make them grow healthy.

UVB lamp – A good quality UVB basking lamp.  UVB HQI lamps or mercury vapor lamps for bigger terrariums. Enables the lizards skin to make vitamin D3, which is needed to assimilate calcium.

If you can’t place a UVB lamp in the terrarium it is important to powder feeding insects with vitamin and calcium powder for indoor lizards (which contains vitamin D3) Never provide the feeding insects with both at the same time, because some vitamin and calcium mixes nullify certain vitamins and minerals.

Substrate 

In a grass lizard terrarium  the right substrate contributes to a good climate. The soil used should lightly hold water but shouldn’t need to be to moist. A mix of unvertilized soil (coco-peat for instance) peatery peat and sand will be right. Devide your terrarium in a dry side and a moist side (not too moist) and use more sand on the dry part then in the moist part of the tank. Build the substrate on a layer of baked clay balls (hydroculture) which is covered with root canvas and place at least 5 cm of substrate on top of that. In planted tanks, the deeper the substrate goes. If you add millipedes (isopods) to your tank they will help keeping the substrate clean and so will springtails. They do need a small side with moist ground and a piece of bark or stone to hide under.

Decoration

In it’s natural environment you will find Takydromus sexlineatus in tall grasses, shrubs and herb areas.  So branches, thin bushy twiggs, grass like plants and bushy plants are in it’s place. The more a mess it is, the more the lizard will be able to move around on a natural way.

Plants, when planted with thought, will contribute to a good climate in the grass lizard tank. But if plants are used who’ll need a lot of moist soil or a high humidity, the plant or the grasslizard won’t live very long. (I’ll make a special article about plants later)

Branches and twiggs should be cleaned well to get rid of dirt from birds and dung of other animals. Use hot cooked water and vinegar and rinse well with water before you place them in the tank. Thick branches can be placed in a hot oven for an hours or two, to exterminate hidden parasites deeper in the core of the branch.

A waterbowl

Always provide in clean drinking water. The grass lizards will mostly drink water of the leaves of plants, but a bowl gives them the opportunity to drink whenever they want to.

Stones (optional) 

Natural stones under or nearby the basking spot will take on heat and cool down slowly. They will help with the transition from day to night time. Cooling down will go slower. Take care the stones can’t get to hot and place them into the soil not on it.

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