How To Use Shelf Liner In A Leopard Gecko Tank

When it comes to setting up your leopard gecko tank, one of the biggest considerations is the substrate to use.

You want to avoid any health issues for your pet and impaction is a serious health issue. It is often resulting from your reptile eating substrate when capturing food.

Shelf liner is being used effectively in many leopard gecko enclosures.

Continue reading to find out more about using this substrate and make an informative decision for your pet.

Pros and Cons


  • Hassle free maintenance – easy to clean
  • Safe for leopard geckos
  • Affordable price
  • Extensive selection of colors and patterns
  • Live food doesn’t get stuck under the substrate and can be removed with ease


  • Shelf liner doesn’t look natural
  • Liner can breed bacteria if you don’t clean properly
  • The liner doesn’t help your gecko in filing down nails

Only Use Non-Adhesive Liner

There are two types of shelf liner, the adhesive and the non-adhesive.

It’s important that you choose the non-adhesive option when selecting a substrate for your leopard gecko enclosure.

If you are using a heat mat, then the adhesion can become toxic, causing fumes to be released into the tank.

Never Use Shelf Liner with Holes

Never use shelf liner with holes. Shelf liners with holes pose numerous problems within the enclosure from making it harder to clean poop and calcium powder.

It is also problematic for your gecko as their claws can get stuck in the holes.

Rather use a natural looking shelf liner, such as the Duck Smooth Top EasyLiner, which will ensure the safety of your gecko. It is non-adhesive, but the bottom grips in place with cushioned protection. It’s very easy to clean and can be cleaned with a damp cloth. It is also machine washable, as an added convenience.

How to Use a UTH with Shelf Liner

Leopard geckos do well with a heat mat placed under the enclosure. Many reptile owners are worried that the shelf liner will melt.

The good news is that this is not a problem, as long as you use non-adhesive liner and you set your UTH (Under Tank Heater) up properly.

The Zoo Med ReptiTherm Under Tank Heater can be used in leopard gecko enclosures with confidence with an adhesive side that sticks with ease to the enclosure to ensure optimum heat transfer.

The heat range is from 4 watts to 24 watts and is economical to operate. It can be used as a primary or secondary heat source.

heat mat setup with glass tank

Heat Mat Placement

Your heat mat should be carefully placed under the enclosure, adhered to the bottom of the tank. The tank should have a gap to allow for ample airflow (aslo known as raised bottom).

If the tank is not raised bottom, use the legs provided in most heat mat kits to give the enclosure the small gap it needs to accommodate the heat mat with ease.

raised bottom vs no raised bottom

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