Electric Blue Gecko Care Page
Prepared by Frank Payne
Electric blue geckos (Lygodactylus williamsi) are very rare and sought after reptiles in the hobby. Native only to a small area of Tanzania, living on one specific type of palm tree, deforestation has rendered these geckos critically endangered in the wild. Captive breeding is the only legal means of owning them. Mature, dominant males are brilliant blue in color, while females and younger males are more of a coppery green or blue-green mix. Electric blue geckos grow up to 3.5 inches in length and have a diet of insects and fruit.
This Care Guide been curated by Frank Payne.
Frank Payne is a biology teacher, former AZA senior herpetology zookeeper, and breeder of exceptional lizards. He has been keeping and breeding reptiles and amphibians for over twenty five years.Read Full Care Guide
Electric Blue Geckos at a Glance
These are some basic core facts about Electric Blue Gecko care:
Tropical Lowland Forest
Electric blue geckos are native to a very small geographic range in Tanzania.
1 out of 5: Poor Handleability
Electric blue geckos are very small, fast, and flighty, so they are not the type of pet that you can handle. Luckily, they are active during the day and amazing to just observe through the glass!
Expected Weekly Dedication: 4 hours minimum
Due to their rarity and small native range, the hobby in general lacks experience with the care of electric blue geckos. Their specific needs and characteristics make them less suitable for a novice keeper.
Daily chores include frequent misting, preparing food, spot-cleaning, and monitoring behaviors like mating and egg-laying if keeping a pair. Food dishes should be disinfected or replaced at least weekly, along with any soiled surfaces.
The amount and frequency of cleaning required will depend on whether your enclosure is bioactive or not. We'll cover these respective chores in the Enclosure Enrichment section. A bioactive enclosure is strongly recommended for these geckos, as frequent cleanings and substrate changes increase the risk of lightning-quick escapees.
- Great display animal
- Active during the day
- Relatively hardy
- Easy to feed
Things to be aware of:
- Fast escapees
- Require UVB and daylight bulbs
- High humidity
- Bioactive recommended
Electric blue geckos need at least a 12″x12″x18″ enclosure or larger. Glass or PVC terrariums are best, but take extra care to fully seal all possible gaps to prevent escapees.
Reptiles aren’t like dogs and cats that can simply roam around your house. They are very sensitive to their environment, and need their own enclosure set up according to their specific needs. This guide covers everything you will need to care for your pet electric blue gecko properly.
Enclosure Size Requirements
Electric blue geckos should be housed in an enclosure that is no smaller than 12″L x 12″W x 18″H. This is the recommended minimum, calculated according to the reptile’s average size and activity patterns.
However, if you can provide an enclosure with more vertical and floor space, do it! Housing your geckos in a larger enclosure with more height allows for a broader temperature gradient and encourages them to be more active and demonstrate more natural behaviors.
Babies may be housed in a smaller enclosure to keep better track of these tiny geckos, but should be transferred to an adult-sized terrarium once they are half grown.
Can multiple electric blue geckos be housed in the same enclosure?
Yes. While electric blue geckos do perfectly well alone, they can also live safely in mixed-sex pairs. Housing 2 females together or 2 males together is not recommended, as this may result in competition issues and injuries. However, when housing a male and female together, they will likely breed and produce eggs, though finding those eggs, getting them to hatch, and raising the offspring to maturity can be quite difficult and would require a more complex setup with careful incubation and multiple enclosures.
To learn more about cohabitation behaviors and requirements, see the "Breeding" section in the full care guide.
Electric Blue Gecko Enclosure Examples
16"x16"16" - Photo contributed by Frank Payne
“Substrate” is the material that you use to cover the floor of the enclosure. This aspect of the setup is important for electric blue geckos because it contributes to overall humidity levels. For best results, you should have at least 3-5″ of substrate total, with 3 components:
- Bottom (drainage layer): 1-2” gravel or clay balls + landscaping cloth
- Middle (soil layer): 2-3” tropical loose substrate
- Top (moisture layer): scattered leaf litter and sphagnum moss
For a humid, tropical substrate, a drainage layer helps aerate the soil, preventing mold and bacterial growth and keeping live plants healthy. Just pour an inch or 2 of your chosen drainage layer into the bottom of the enclosure. You can also place a sheet of landscaping cloth on top to keep it separate from the soil. Here are some options we recommend:
The best soil substrate for electric blue geckos is a DIY mix of roughly 40% untreated topsoil + 40% play sand + 20% coconut fiber (like Eco Earth). Topsoil must not contain any fertilizers, manure, or perlite/vermiculite - read the ingredients! Mix well, soak until muddy, then pack it down on top of the drainage layer.
Alternatively, you can use a pre-packaged soil substrate. Here are some commercial substrates we recommend for electric blue geckos:
To better hold humidity, scatter some leaf litter on top of the soil. You can also add some sphagnum moss under the leaves or mixed into the soil. You can purchase leaf litter or collect some from outside. Just make sure to gather leaves from a clean, dry area that hasn’t been touched by chemicals, then boil or bake them in your oven at 200°F/100°C for 1 hour to kill microbes.
While traditional housing depends on the keeper for maintenance, bioactive setups are more or less self-sustaining, miniature ecosystems. Because electric blue geckos are so small and quick, we highly recommend a bioactive enclosure to reduce time spent opening and cleaning the enclosure. It can also support live plants, which are great for soil health and for the gecko to climb on!
All of the above substrates can be made bioactive with the addition of a “cleanup crew,” or bugs. They hide beneath the leaf litter, cleaning up uneaten food, fallen leaves, and fecal remains, making bioactive substrates incredibly low maintenance. All you need to do is wipe off the glass and remove large pieces of waste.
Springtails and isopods (wood lice) make a good starter cleanup crew. For a quick and easy way to set up a bioactive substrate for humid, arboreal reptiles, check out The Bio Dude.
When you first bring your new electric blue gecko home, you will need to quarantine for at least 1 month. This means keeping the enclosure as sterile as possible and closely monitoring the lizard's health.
Paper towels are the best substrate for quarantine, as they can be frequently replaced and make it easier to observe feces and other potential health issues. Paper towels should be fully replaced at least once a week and any soiled areas must be replaced daily. Once your pet has shown a clean bill of health, you can introduce your long-term substrate to the enclosure.
If you already have other reptiles in your home, you should extend the quarantine period to 3 months, keep the enclosure in a separate room if possible, and make sure not to share any tools or decor between your new gecko and other pets, unless fully sanitized between each use.
Reptiles are much more intelligent than we humans tend to give them credit for, and that means they need things to entertain them. Otherwise they exist in a state of perpetual boredom, which makes them dull, inactive, and overall less interesting as pets. When reptiles have objects to interact with in their enclosure, they become less stressed and more engaged with their environment. This practice is called environmental enrichment.
It’s important to choose enrichment items (a.k.a. enclosure decor) that are appropriate to your pet’s natural behaviors. Electric blue geckos are arboreal, so perches and cover are essential for this species. Here are some objects that serve a vital function in an electric blue gecko terrarium:
Electric blue geckos don’t spend much time on the ground, so perches are necessary for climbing and basking. Bamboo pieces, branches, and terrarium backgrounds can all serve this purpose. Perches should be arranged in a way that allows the geckos to climb and rest at varying heights throughout the enclosure and should be sturdily installed to prevent collapse.
If you collect any wood from outside, give it a good scrub and bake at 250°F for about an hour &/or soak in a disinfectant compatible with porous surfaces, such as Clean Break or F10SC.
You’ll need to provide plenty of places for your geckos to hide to feel secure in their environment and to self-regulate their UV, light, and heat exposure. Plants with large leaves are a great way to provide cover and emulate their natural environment. In addition to the required leafy coverage, you can also add small hides that are suspended, nestled amid the branches, or attached to the walls of the enclosure.
In addition to providing cover, live plants make an excellent addition to a bioactive terrarium. Make sure any live plants are nontoxic and suited to a tropical environment. Artificial plants can also be used, just be sure to clean and sanitize them before arranging them inside the enclosure.
Aside from helping your setup look nice, a good background can provide more climbing opportunities and help your geckos feel more secure if the terrarium is made of glass. However, it should be noted that backgrounds can provide more hiding places for these small geckos to squeeze into. We don’t recommend using a background if you’re attempting to breed electric blue geckos, as it can make it more difficult to find their eggs in the crevices.
How do I keep my enclosure clean?
To control the growth of pathogens and keep your enclosure hygienic and odor-free, it’s important to clean it regularly.
A bioactive enclosure requires very little maintenance aside from watering plants, feeding CUC as needed, and some spot-cleaning. This is the removal of uneaten food, visible urates, and the cleaning/replacing of food dishes. Surfaces with dried-on feces or urate should be wiped with reptile-safe disinfectant and rinsed. Substrate does not need to be replaced, the microfauna in the soil will do the rest of the work for you!
If your enclosure is not bioactive, spot-cleaning should be a daily routine. Food waste, feces, urates, and any contaminated substrate should be removed daily and soiled surfaces should be cleaned at least weekly. Loose substrate should be completely removed and replaced every 4-6 months. This is also a good time to completely disinfect the enclosure with an animal-safe disinfectant like F10SC or chlorhexidine. For such small, fast-moving geckos, it may be wise to transfer them to a separate container while doing a deep clean (which is why we recommend bioactive).
In both cases, you may also need to routinely remove water spots/mineral deposits from the glass of the enclosure. One of the most efficient ways to remove these is by scraping them off with a razor blade.
Electric blue geckos need 3 types of lamps in their enclosure: A UVB lamp, a 6500K daylight lamp, and a heat lamp.
UVB is important for enabling vitamin D3 synthesis, strengthening the immune system, and encouraging proper organ function. It also stimulates the production of serotonin, a feel-good hormone. UVB can’t just be replaced with a vitamin D3 supplement for electric blue geckos!
UVA is important for allowing full-color vision, because electric blue geckos can see UVA wavelengths (humans can’t!). It is suspected to play a role in mental health and appetite.
The 6500K daylight lamp provides extra illumination at a color temperature that is similar to sunlight. As diurnal reptiles, electric blue geckos are highly stimulated by having a well-lit environment during the day. Bright daytime lighting is likely to encourage more activity, better appetite, and better mental health.
Infrared radiation (i.e. heat) is important for reptiles' thermoregulation. As ectotherms, they rely on the heat of the sun to warm their bodies and stimulate their metabolism, digest their food, and stay alert and active. The shorter the wavelength, the deeper it can penetrate their muscle tissue. In captivity, we can provide this with specific heat bulbs that emit the most beneficial infrared wavelengths (IR-A and IR-B).
All light and heat should be kept on a regular schedule using outlet timers or done manually. This allows for a predictable day/night cycle which the gecko can follow, allowing for natural hormonal rhythms and good mental health. We recommend the following schedule for electric blue geckos, based on their natural environment:
|Spring||12hrs ON / 12hrs OFF|
|Summer||14hrs ON / 10hrs OFF|
|Fall||12hrs ON / 12hrs OFF|
|Winter||10hrs ON / 14hrs OFF|
Electric blue geckos need plenty of UVB and UVA in order to stay healthy. This should be provided with a 5-7% UVB output T5 lamp or a 10% UVB output T8 lamp. We recommend Arcadia or Zoo Med brand linear fluorescent tubes, as these are the best and most reliable UV lamps on the market.
The bulb should span nearly the full width of the enclosure and be installed at the highest point in order to create an appropriate vertical UV gradient.
Best UVB bulbs for electric blue geckos:
“Compact” UVB bulbs are also an option for minimum (12”x12”x18”) sized enclosures, such as the Zoo Med Reptisun T5 HO 5.0.
Distance and Mesh
The strength of the UVB lamp’s output varies according to distance from the bulb - stronger when closer, and weaker when further away. If you are using a Solarmeter 6.5 to measure your UVB lamp’s output, the UVI (UV Index) reading should be between 2.0-3.0 at the basking perch, and down to 0 at the lowest perch or substrate level. If you don't have a Solarmeter, here is a rough estimate of how far your basking perch should be from the bulb, based on whether your lamp is above or below mesh:
- 4-6” (lamp above mesh)
- 8-10” (without mesh obstruction)
To optimize your UVB bulb’s performance, you will need a high-quality reflective T5 HO or T8 fixture, depending on your bulb of choice. Some lamps come in kits that already include a fixture, such as the Arcadia ShadeDweller (linked above) or Zoo Med T5 HO kit. Otherwise, Zoo Med and Vivarium Electronics make various fixtures for both T5 and T8 bulbs.
T5 bulbs last 12 months and T8 bulbs last 6 months before requiring replacement, as their UVB output decays over time. Off-brand UVB bulbs are likely to have shorter lifespans and unreliable output. Avoid coil UVB bulbs, as these cannot distribute a proper UV gradient throughout the enclosure.
Electric blue geckos are heliophilic, meaning they seek out and thrive in sunlight. UVB and heat bulbs aren't going to be enough to provide the bright light that these diurnal geckos need for simulating natural sunlight. An LED bar with about 6500K color temperature is the best option to meet this need. The brightest reptile daylight fixture currently on the market is the Arcadia Jungle Dawn. They’re expensive, but the sheer output of bright, beautifully white light makes them worth the investment. Here are the daylight lamps we recommend:
Electric blue geckos need access to a variety of temperatures within a certain range in order to properly regulate their metabolism:
- Basking surface (highest perch): 90-95°F
- Upper enclosure ambient: 80-85°F
- Bottom of enclosure ambient: 75-80°F
- Nighttime: 70-75°F, but no lower than 65°F
All heat lamps should be plugged into an outlet timer or a thermostat with a built-in timer and set to the same schedule as the UVB and daylight lamps, allowing for a natural temperature drop and a healthy circadian rhythm.
The best way to create a nice warm basking area for your electric blue gecko is with a halogen puck light or halogen flood bulb plugged into a dimmer switch and thermostat with the probe on the basking surface. This allows you to very precisely control the amount of heat produced by these bulbs to achieve the desired temperatures, plus it dramatically increases bulb longevity. Make sure to get halogen, not xenon puck lights, as these will not work with a dimmer.
Heating for 18-24” tall enclosures:
Only use one puck light per enclosure, unless dealing with a very large terrarium. If you are using a terrarium that is greater than 24” in height, puck lighting will likely be insufficient. An enclosure of this size will do better with a 40-60 watt halogen bulb in a ceramic socket dome lamp.
Heating for enclosures taller than 24”:
Thermostat and dimmer options:
Unsafe Heat Sources
These heat sources are particularly dangerous to electric blue geckos because they can pose major health risks and cause stress. Avoid the following heat sources at all costs and stick to the bulbs we recommend above.
❌ Colored bulbs
Red, blue, purple, and other colored light bulbs are inappropriate for almost all reptiles. They can wash out your gecko’s vision and make it harder to hunt. In fact, blue lights are known to potentially damage reptiles’ eyes!
❌ “Nighttime” bulbs
The idea that reptiles can't see red, purple, or “black” light is a myth! They may not be able to see the color, but they can still see the light. Using any lights at night can interfere with your gecko’s day/night cycle, causing stress and poor health.
❌ “Multipurpose” bulbs
Mercury vapor bulbs and other heat+UVB combination bulbs (Zoo Med PowerSun, Exo Terra Solar Glo) are overpowered and inappropriate for electric blue geckos, who need a higher heat to UVB ratio than larger diurnal species. These bulbs can't be used with thermostats and can easily burn your gecko, so it's much safer to provide and control your heat and UVB separately.
❌ Heat mats and heat rocks
Neither mats nor rocks are appropriate for arboreal species, as they only warm a direct surface, not the surrounding air. Heat rocks (also known as hot rocks/rock heaters/etc.) are notoriously unreliable and many reptiles have lost their lives due to severe burns caused by these devices.
To ensure proper temperatures in your electric blue gecko enclosure, you will need good thermometers. Temp gun-style infrared thermometers are useful for measuring surface temperatures anywhere in the enclosure. However, digital probe thermometers are useful for being able to track local air temperatures at a glance. It's best to have at least 2 thermometers to measure temps on each end of the vertical heat gradient. Here are some devices we recommend for measuring temperatures:
Electric blue geckos come from a humid, tropical environment and require a range of 50% to 80% humidity at all times. You should mist 1-3 times a day for approximately 1 minute per session, as needed.
The goal is to thoroughly cover the leaves of the plants and the sides of the terrarium with water droplets, stopping before the soil becomes overly saturated. It is important not to mist the enclosure again until all water droplets have evaporated and the top most layer of the soil/leaf litter has started to dry out. Proper ventilation must be present in the enclosure to allow this humidity regulation process.
Achieving these humidity levels can be as easy and cheap as a hand mister or as complex as an automated misting system - not to be confused with an automated fogger, which only increases general humidity and doesn't create the necessary water droplets for geckos to drink. Misting systems, like the MistKing, can be regulated precisely with a timer and don’t disturb the geckos as much as opening the doors & hand-misting.
You can measure humidity with a hygrometer like the Zoo Med Digital Combo Gauge linked in the Measuring Temperature section. These are the products we recommend for misting your electric blue geckos:
Electric blue geckos don't brumate like many larger reptiles, but they should see a reduction in light and temperature in the winter, this precise schedule is covered in the "Lighting" section above.
Electric blue geckos are omnivorous, which means that they require both animal and plant based foods for a balanced diet. They are both insectivorous (insect eating) and frugivorous (fruit eating). To be more specific, these geckos need a diet of live, small insects and prepared fruit.
Here is a basic feeding schedule for a pet electric blue gecko:
|Juveniles||Every day||Constant access|
|Adults||Every other day||1 serving a week|
Provide only as many insects as the geckos can clear out within 1-2 hours. The exact amount will depend on the size and age of your geckos and may take some experimenting before you settle on a routine. Feed only insects that are ¼” or smaller and should be properly gutloaded and dusted with the appropriate supplements.
Fruit can be provided in the form of a high-quality commercial crested gecko diet. Crested gecko diet (CGD) is a nutritionally-complete powder that becomes a fruit meal replacement smoothie when water is added. Ripe pieces of fruit can also be used in place of a prepared diet. A single serving of fruit for a small colony of geckos is about 1 plastic bottle cap-full.
Both insects and fruit should be served in elevated dishes. You can use a wall-mounted feeding ledge or just attach plastic bottle caps with velcro to various perches.
When feeding nymph stage insects, be sure to remove all uneaten bugs after the geckos have eaten and prevent nymphs from escaping. Biodegradable cups are best for the environment, but smooth plastic is harder for bugs to climb! If they hide in the substrate, they can grow into adults and pose a risk to smaller geckos. Fruit flies may roam freely, but they tend to congregate around the fruit cups, creating a concentrated feeding station and actively gut-loading themselves!
The key to a healthy, balanced diet is variety, so make sure to provide as many different kinds of safe insects and fruits in your geckos' diet as possible!
- Fruit flies melanogaster
- Fruit flies hydei
- Bean beetles
- Banana roach nymphs
- Pinhead crickets
- Dubia roach nymphs (watch for escapees)
- Pangea CGD
- Repashy CGD
- Arcadia Arcadia StickyFootGold
- Lugarti CGD
- Black Panther Zoological CGD
- Gecko Pro CGD
- Leapin’ Leachie CGD
- Zoo Med CGD
Always offer live insects to your geckos. Dead or canned insects don’t trigger their “hunting mode,” so they most likely won’t get eaten. Gutload all insects by allowing them to fill up on fresh produce at least 12 hours before feeding to your gecko.
All feeders should be captive bred. Don’t feed your gecko bugs from your backyard — these can make your pet sick! Here are some sites we recommend to buy safe, captive bred feeders:
Calcium & Vitamin Supplements
To make sure that your electric blue geckos are getting all of the vitamins and minerals that their bodies need, it’s important to use calcium and vitamin supplements as part of their diet.
All feeder insects should be lightly dusted with supplement powder and previously gut-loaded with fresh vegetables. Repashy Calcium Plus LoD is a great supplement to use for this species, as it provides both calcium and necessary vitamins.
Keeping Your Gecko Hydrated
Electric blue geckos don't need a water dish. They prefer to lap up the water droplets that have accumulated on plant leaves and the sides of the terrarium after mistings. Since this method evaporates faster than a dish, it's important to mist the enclosure at least once a day so they can stay properly hydrated.
Taming & Handling
Electric blue geckos are tiny, quick, and flighty, meaning they are easy to lose track of if handled. These geckos will never be as calm and trusting as a larger lizard, so handling is not recommended and should only be done out of necessity. However, it’s still important to be confident in your ability to corral them when necessary and allow them to get somewhat accustomed to your presence to reduce stress. This requires careful movements, close observation, and respecting their boundaries during feeding and enclosure maintenance.
- Enjoy watching your geckos do their thing through the glass.
- Open the enclosure carefully.
- Attempt handling unless absolutely necessary.
- Leave the enclosure open for longer than necessary.
Here are some common health problems to look out for.
Possible illnesses and health problems in electric blue geckos include metabolic bone disease, intestinal parasites, and respiratory infections. Providing proper husbandry, diet, and supplements should help avoid most health issues, but if your gecko is displaying potential symptoms of illness, it’s important to take them to an experienced reptile veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment. Do not try to treat them at home, as you could make the problem worse!
Signs of a healthy gecko:
- Slender body shape
- Straight spine and limbs
- Breathing with mouth closed
- Firm, dark poo with white urates
- Eats regularly
- Moves quickly and easily
- Alert attitude
Signs of an unhealthy gecko:
- Curved limbs
- Kinked spine
- Excessive weight gain
- Rapid weight loss
- Breathing with mouth open
- Runny stool
- No bowel movements for extended period of time