Pacman frogs thrive in humid and warm environments. They spend most of their time burrowing below the soil and leaves. These frogs are mostly found in tropical swamps and rain forest environments and as such, they have very specific heating requirements. In order to provide your pet Pacman frog with a happy and comfortable habitat, you must focus on providing the best heating to ensure that they remain healthy.
The hardest part of your enclosure set up will be the heating. You need to heat different areas of the terrarium to provide your frog with a place to regulate their temperature. This means heating the air temperature, not the substrate while maintaining high humidity levels.
The tank you have selected, along with your room temperature will determine what heating solution will work best for your Pacman frog.
Pacman Frog Tank Temperature Requirements
Baby Pacman frogs have different temperature requirements to the adults. Babies require higher temperatures. Substrate surface temperature is not important. What you need is the air temperature in the enclosure.
Baby Pacman frogs (1” diameter to 3” diameter)
- Day time temperatures – 77ºF to 85ºF (25ºC to 29.5ºC)
- Nighttime temperatures – 70ºF to 75ºF (21.1ºC to 23.8ºC)
Adult Pacman frogs (over 3” diameter)
- Day time temperatures – 75ºF to 82ºF (23.8ºC to 27.7ºC)
- Nighttime temperatures – 65ºF to 70ºF (18.3ºC to 21.1ºC)
Note that heat source should always be placed on one side of the tank to create a thermal gradient. The thermal gradient will allow your Pacman frog freely to choose the best temperature for him or her.
What is the Best Heating Source for Pacman Frogs?
Heating pad / Heat Mats
Heating pad (or Under tank heaters or heat mats) are the most preferred heating option with Pacman frog owners, they can provide good air temperatures without drying out the air.
The size you will need will be determined by your tank size; you only want to cover half of your terrarium. General rule of thumb:
Heat pad size
4 x 5 inch (10 x 13 cm)
10 - 20 gallon
6 x 8 inch (15 x 20 cm)
30 - 40 gallon
8 x 12 inch (20 x 30 cm)
50 - 60 gallon
8 x 18 inch (20 x 45 cm)
Some of the best heating pads are:
- The Zoomed Reptitherm Undertank Heater is ideal for 10 to 20 gallon terrariums. The easy to use heater mounts on the underside of the tank to provide excellent heating for burrowing frogs.
- The Zilla Heat Mat Terrarium Heater is also an excellent choice when it comes to heating pads. Heat is essential to help your Pacman frog thermoregulate to improve activity, metabolism, and appetite. The Zilla heat mat comes in 5 sizes for convenience.
- The iPower Reptile Heat Pad is also an affordable option with 4 sizes to choose.
Heat pads should always be used with an on/off thermostat, which helps you set your required temperatures to ensure the habitat remains comfortable for your frog. Below are examples of some good thermostats:
- The BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat Controller is an excellent and affordable option with an effortless heating setup and rugged construction. This is a safe and reliable thermostat which can help you maintain optimum temperature levels inside the habitat.
- If you want to spend a bit more on an on/off thermostat, then the Zoo Med Repti Temp Digital Thermostat is recommended. This thermostat controls temperature ranging from 50ºF to 122ºF. It can heat and cool with a simple push of a button. It is able to control up to six hundred watts with the convenience of built-in memory and an alarm to notify you when temperatures are out of range.
Ceramic Heat Emitter
Ceramic heat emitter (C.H.E) are not recommended and not preferred by Pacman frog owners, as they can dry out the substrate. In the event you are struggling to use a heating mat to maintain optimum temperatures, then you may want to consider a low watt ceramic heat emitter such as Zoo Med 40W Nano Ceramic Heat Emitter. It is is a 40-watt ceramic heat emitter that is ideal to provide 24-hour heat, where needed. The ceramic heater can also be used in colder climates to maintain a comfortable night time temperature for your frog, as these heating sources to not give off any light.
When you select a ceramic heat emitter you will need a dome fixture to go with it, which enables you to place the heater above the enclosure, directing heat inside the terrarium. The Zoo Med Nano Dome Lamp Fixture is a deep dome that offers efficient reflection with a power switch for easy control. It is a 0.8mm thick, premium quality aluminum fixture that is polished to provide an efficient reflective surface.
Note that the ceramic heat emitters should always be used with a thermostat to ensure your desired temperatures are maintained. On/off thermostats such as BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat Controller or Zoo Med Repti Temp Digital Thermostat can be used to control a ceramic heater.
How to Maintain High Humidity Levels With Ceramic Heat Emitters
When using a ceramic heat emitter with your Pacman frog, you will want to ensure you manage to maintain the humidity levels your frog needs. You can do this by covering the top of the enclosure to keep moisture trapped or you can mist frequently using a misting bottle. You can also consider using a misting system if you are away from home for extended periods. The Exo Terra Monsoon Solo High Pressure Misting System is an easy to use 0.4 gallon misting system that is programmable for added convenience. It produces a fine mist and can be programmed on duration and intervals to ensure humidity levels are maintained with accuracy.
Heat lamps are not recommended for use with Pacman frogs due to the amount of light that they product. Your frog burrows a lot of the time and does not need too much light.
It's essential that you regularly monitor the temperatures in your Pacman frog terrarium to ensure optimum temperatures are maintained. This will keep your frog happy and healthy while living in captivity. It's important that you use a digital thermometer, they are more accurate than the cheaper analog versions. You will want to monitor the temperature on your cool and hot side of the terrarium, so having two thermometers could be useful.
The Exo Terra Digital Thermometer with Probe enables you to monitor the temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius. It provides accurate temperature with a single button operation and remote sensor.
Alternatively, you can consider the Govee Thermometer Hygrometer, with an easy to use LCD display that offers the convenience of measuring your temperature and humidity levels using one device. It offers high accuracy and a blue tooth enabled feature that lets you monitor your temperatures remotely for convenience. Enjoy smart notification alerts should your humidity or temperature be out of range.
Ways to Set Up the Heating System in Your Pacman Frog Terrarium
There are several ways you can provide heat in the terrarium. The one you choose will be determined by the tank materials, the tank design, and your overall room temperature.
1 Heating Pad Covering 1 Side or The Back
This is a very common set up for Pacman frog owners. This set up is quick and easy. Simply place your heating pad on the back or side of the terrarium, on the outside. You want to ensure it is placed above the substrate. Once you have removed the adhesive and stuck the heating pad to the enclosure, you can plug it into your thermostat. Set your thermostat to achieve optimum temperatures. Next, take the probe of the thermostat and place it in an area where you can measure air temperature effectively. Please note you must not place the probe in or on the substrate. Your thermometer will come with a probe, also place this in an area where you can measure the air temperature, this will help you monitor the heat mat and thermostat effectively.
2 Heating Pads Covering 1 Side and 1 Back
You can try this set up if you don't get enough heat from a single heating pad. This set up you will take one heating pad and carefully place it on the side of the terrarium. Remember to place it on the outside and above the substrate. You will take a second heating pad and follow the same process on the back of the terrarium, keeping to the same side to create a hot side to the tank. Plug your heat mats into the thermostat and place the probe away from the substrate to allow it to monitor the air temperature. You will want to do the same with the probe of your thermometer to ensure you can get accurate temperatures.
Increase Room Temperature with a Space Heater
A space heater such as PELONIS Ceramic Tower 1500W Indoor Space Heater can be used effectively during the colder seasons to warm the room temperature and reduce the risk of dips in temperature within the terrarium. This is a self-regulating ceramic heater that offers automatic overheat protection. This compact and powerful heater can be moved into the room to increase the temperature when the room temperature drops to help you maintain optimum terrarium temperatures. It has a quiet operation with built-in carry handles, wireless remote control, and a built-in timer.
Ceramic Heat Emitter
This solution should only be considered when you have tried the above methods and still struggle to maintain optimum heating in your Pacman frog enclosure. You will want to screw your ceramic heater into the dome fixture and place it over the screen top. This will allow optimum penetration of heat. Attach your ceramic heat emitter to your thermostat and set your heating requirements as per the manufacturer’s instructions. You want to use the probe of your thermostat and thermometer probes to measure air temperature, therefore never put them into or on the substrate.
If a single ceramic heat emitter is not enough, you can combine to use a heat mat and ceramic heater. Place the heat mat on the side or back of the enclosure and ensure you place your ceramic heater on the same side to create a warm side. Plug your heater and heat pad into your thermostat and set it to your required temperatures. Remember to monitor your temperatures regularly on your thermometer.
Pacman Frog Heating in Summary
When it comes to providing your Pacman frog with the desired temperature, the first choice is a heating pad. Heating pads do not dry up the substrate, as ceramic heaters do and therefore provide an optimum environment for your frog. If you are not getting the desired temperatures with a heat pad, then a ceramic heater with a thermostat can be considered, though remember to keep a close eye on your humidity levels.